Belgium’s baby pandas greet the world
At Pairi Daiza, a wildlife park in Belgium, lives a family of giant pandas.
The mum and dad, Hao Hao and Xing Hui, arrived from China five years ago. They had their first baby, Tian Bao, two years ago. His name means “Heaven’s Treasure” in Chinese.
Then in August this year, Hao Hao had twins, a boy and a girl panda. This was wonderful news for an animal which is very rare and at risk of disappearing from its natural home in the forests of central China. Only about 2,000 pandas still exist, including about 300 in zoos.
When they’re born, baby pandas are tiny and so delicate. They weigh no more than an orange and have pink skin, with none of the black and white fur that pandas are famous for.
They need a lot of care and so it’s traditional to wait 100 days, when they are more certain to survive and grow up, before giving them a name.
A week ago, the Pairi Daiza park launched an online poll to choose names for the twins. More than 70,000 people took part.
And now… it’s official ! The girl panda is called Bao Mei and her brother is Bao Di – that means Sister and Brother of Tian Bao.
And, my word, how they’ve grown.
They are now black and white cute and furry and weigh about the same as a human baby of the same age. They are playful and healthy – and people will be able to see them when the park opens for a winter season just before Christmas.
You can wish them a big “ni hao!” – which means “hello” in Chinese. Let us know if you plan to visit – because WoW ! is not far away from the panda family!