Люди во время встречи первого восхода солнца Нового 2023 года в Сеуле  - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.04.2023
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Washington Zoo Readying for New Pandas: Hammocks, Bread Recipe, Bamboo Language

© AP Photo / Jose Luis MaganaGiant panda Tian Tian eats bamboo in his enclosure at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023.
Giant panda Tian Tian eats bamboo in his enclosure at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.05.2024
WASHINGTON (Sputnik), Liudmila Chernova - The Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington is actively preparing to welcome two new Chinese giant pandas later this year with their future habitat being renovated and keepers learning the eating and behavioral habits of the young bears, National Zoo director Brandie Smith told Sputnik.
A pair of Chinese giant pandas will join the National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in Washington by the end of the year.
"It's such a thrill to be able to announce the giant pandas will be returning to the National Zoo to our nation's capital," Smith shared with Sputnik right after the announcement was made by the Chinese ambassador on Wednesday. "I was always certain in my heart that pandas would come back but it's really a testament to our relationship with our colleagues in China that we have that we're welcoming them back so quickly."


The zoo is already making some changes to their habitat to "make it more fun," including putting in more climbing structures, hammocks and different ways for them to play.
The keepers are also having conversations with their counterparts in China to get to know what those pandas are like, what they like to eat and do to "make this home as happy as possible for them."
"I think that this program serves as a model - working together with our colleagues, collaborating, cooperating having a common goal, I think that this program is just a model for how we can succeed," Smith stated.
During the first 30 days the pandas will go through a quarantine process, and then they will undergo a acclimation process to the exhibits, to the routine of the keepers and the diet, Dr. James Steeil, one of the supervisory veterinarians at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, told Sputnik.
The diet of the pandas will be nearly exactly the same as in China with one difference, which is a bread-like substance that is given to them in China.
"We will probably use a biscuit but we have the recipe for the bread to help acclimate them to our biscuit," he added.
Steeil also said that the pandas rarely get stressed while flying so there is no concern about their travel.

When Are They Going to Have Cubs?

The pandas, which are expected to fly to DC by FedEx before the end of the year are male Bao Li, who is the grandson of Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, who left Washington last fall, and female Qing Bao. Both bears are two years old and will be sent under a new 10-year research and breeding agreement.
"It'll be about three or four years before they can have cubs of their own. And so we'll have time just to enjoy them before we can say when are you going to have cubs?" Smith said. "Ideally, they'll have cubs, and then those cubs will be part of the bigger breeding program in China."
Mariel Lally, giant panda keeper, has been working closely with Giant Pandas for some eight and a half years and will be working with the new duo almost every single day.
"One of the best ways [to build a relationship with the new pandas] is to use food, so it's going to be a lot of spending time feeding them their favorite foods and showing them I'm somebody that you can trust and when you come to me you get the most delicious treat," she explained. "I think that working with them so closely, it won't take very long at all."
Lally also noted that giant pandas do not really want to spend a lot of time with their keeper as they like to hang out, eat and sleep.
The future residents of the DC zoo will not have to deal with the language barrier either, as it does not matter to them what language people speak.
"Luckily, it doesn't matter. Whatever language you speak. Pandas - I like to say they speak bamboo - so luckily, what goes on with them is they know their names, their names are pronounced the same whether it's in English or in Chinese," Lally explained. "But when we do training, we use a lot of hand signals with them. If I need their paw, I'll hold my hand up and they'll be able to do that. So, we make sure that our hand signals will be similar to what they're already doing."
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