China, here comes Nuan Nuan!

Since the last myPandas update, Nuan Nuan has been weaned from her mother Feng Yi and is now in quarantine ahead of her return to China in eight days’ time.

Nuan Nuan’s arrival in Dujiangyan panda base on 14 November 2017 will be almost three and a half years since her parents departed from there for Malaysia on 20 May 2014. Her birth just 15 months after her parents’ arrival in Malaysia remains the fastest panda cub birth by natural mating outside of China. And now she is being returned to China just four days from turning 27 months old. I wish I could say she’s the youngest overseas-born panda cub to be returned to China but two of Vienna Zoo’s panda cubs, Fu Long and Fu Hu, were returned younger than she was: Fu Long at three days before turning 27 months and Fu Hu at just 26 months 2 weeks. Yes, I’m obsessed about numbers, but then, I’m Malaysian and I’m Chinese. I digress …

When Fu Wa and Feng Yi departed from Dujiangyan on 20 May 2014, I was there to see them enter their transport carriers. After that, I’d flown on that evening’s Air Asia flight to arrive home ahead of their flight so that I was able to be on the tarmac to see the plane touch down on the morning of 21 May 2014.

I was hoping to be able to do the same for Nuan Nuan’s return to China. But the flight scheduling is different this time. I cannot be there to see her enter her transport carrier and travel ahead of her to see her arrive in Dujiangyan. It was either one or the other. I chose to forego seeing her enter her transport carrier so I can be in Dujiangyan on 14 November to see her arrive there. The last time ever I saw Nuan Nuan in Malaysia was on 2 November 2017.

I am now in Beijing, on the start of a week-long panda trip to various places, including Taiyuan to see Nuan Nuan’s brother, Gong Gong, before flying to Chengdu to go to Dujiangyan panda base. This is a trip postponed from May this year which I cannot postpone any further or I would break my promise to see him every year. I bring good news to Gong Gong this trip – his sister will soon be in the same country with him while their mother Feng Yi will continue to be in Malaysia as part of the 10-year panda loan agreement with China. Hopefully, in future annual visits with him, I will continue to bring good news of new siblings every other year!