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Pairi Daiza animal park: Giant panda twins finally separated from their mother

11:33 06/08/2023

Among the stars at Belgium’s prime tourist attraction Pairi Daiza, are its giant panda family.

The latest news from the privately owned zoo near Mons is that twins Bao Di et Bao Mei have been successfully separated from their mother.

The move to an independent space temporarily opposite their older brother Tian Bao is an entirely normal process, it says. "As occurs in the natural environment, at this stage the panda is looking for its own territory, so the twins must be separated from their mother. Giant pandas indeed have a strong territorial instinct and appreciate solitude."

Born in Pairi Daiza in August 2019, the two pandas have now reached maturity and weigh 108 and 115 kilos.

If the separation occurred later than planned, everything went smoothly for the team caring for the charismatic and endangered bears. Zookeepers prepared for the move by training the twins to voluntarily enter their transport box. The animals thereby avoided anaesthesia and showed no stress during the transition, according to head vet Alicia Quièvy.

"As in nature, after the departure of her young, the hormonal system of the mother will adjust to perhaps allowing procreation next year," she added.

For the moment, the twins can still stay together, but in the future they will have individual territories.

The panda cubs are the pride and joy of Pairi Daiza with each birth and life event a momentous occasion that has helped boost visitor numbers to the park.

It boasts some of the most lavish and extensive animal collections of any zoo in the world with over 7,000 animals from 700 different species are scattered around the 80-hectare estate, all separated into different worlds. The pandas occupy the Middle Kingdom with its Asian influenced decor and vegetation.

Since 2014, Pairi Daiza has been involved in giant panda conservations. Aan agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) enabled it to welcome Xing Hui and Hao Hao, the giant panda couple who have since given birth to three babies.

Death of rare specimen

On a sadder note, the park has announced the death of Tasmanian Devil Colin. Approaching the aged of seven, the marsupial had been ill for some time. "He was finding it increasingly difficult to move around and live peacefully," it said. "It was with heavy hearts and sad eyes that we accompanied Colin on his final journey," said the zoo.

Despite this death, Pairi Daiza continues to be involved in the Tasmanian Devil rescue programme.

Planckendael Zoo shares news of death of its oldest elephant


Meanwhile, Planckendael Zoo, near Mechelen, has announced the loss of one of its treasured animals. The 44-year-old elephant Yu Yu Yin was the oldest of the herd, although Indian elephants generally have a life expectancy of 50 to 60 years.

Yu Yu Yin suddenly fell ill and was unable to get up, the animal park said. She was already suffering from colic and was being treated around the clock by caregivers. "Acute digestive problems are probably the cause of death. She was supported and cared for day and night by zookeepers and the veterinary team, but she quickly declined," it said on social media.

She was also surrounded by her fellow creatures: "The other elephants in the herd, May Tagu and her daughter Suki, Kai-Mook and her daughter Tun Kai, gave her a long farewell".

The elephant was born in a woodworker's camp in Burma in 1979. She was first taken to the Netherlands at a young age before being moved to Antwerp Zoo in 2006, followed by the new Elephant Temple at Planckendael Zoo in 2021.

After giving birth to a stillborn baby elephant, she was probably rendered sterile as she never had any other pregnancies. However, Yu Yu Yin had a 25-year-old son, Maxim, who lives in a zoo in the Czech Republic.

The park's elephant keepers described Yu Yu Yin "as an enterprising, inventive and super-smart elephant" and a "loving aunt to little Suki and Tun Kai".

Written by The Bulletin