Two years ago today, China and Malaysia signed an agreement for the loan of a pair of giant pandas to Malaysia. A few days later, thanks to a Japanese Facebook friend, I not only learned which two giant pandas had been chosen but that the female panda is my adopted panda, Feng Yi.
It wasn’t until almost a year later that, on the advice of a friend and client, I registered mypandas.org, and posted my first blog post on the first anniversary of the loan agreement. So today is also the first anniversary of mypandas.org.
Much has changed since the signing of the loan agreement two years ago and the posting of that first blog post a year ago. There were, in particular, two significant changes.
Giant Panda Complex, Zoo Negara Malaysia
There is now a new building in Zoo Negara Malaysia. There is an official name for it; I call it giant panda house but it is also known as giant panda complex. When construction first began, I went along to have a look and over the months, returned to monitor its progress. All I saw was the outside and when I eventually saw the inside, I was impressed.
As I had hoped, the construction of the giant panda house has led to an overall upgrade of the Zoo and its other exhibits. What a difference from my first visit back in May 2013.
Arrival of the giant pandas
Fu Wa and Feng Yi arrived in Malaysia on 21 May 2014. They are currently in the last week of their month-long quarantine. During this time, they have been introduced to locally-grown bamboo and shown a preference for three varieties. They have also been introduced to their yards where they have both climbed to the top of the wooden structures in each yard, and Feng Yi has destroyed two young trees, one in each yard. Both of them have also pooped inside their yards which, to me, is a sign they have both settled in very well, thank you.
Their arrival on 21 May also happened during this year’s breeding season. Feng Yi was in estrus during the early part of the quarantine and there was an attempt to mate them. While this was unsuccessful, the Malaysian team was given a rare opportunity that would normally have happened in the first year and not the first month.
The end of the month-long quarantine on 21 June will be followed by the official opening of the giant panda house on 25 June.
Fu Wa’s and Feng Yi’s arrival in Malaysia is just the beginning: the beginning of their 10-year stay, and the beginning of their care by their Malaysian team of vets and keepers currently supported by a vet and a keeper who accompanied them from China.
What about this blog? It will continue, and hopefully be back to its once-a-week update. I have signed up as a Zoo Negara volunteer and look forward to working with the team if they will let me.