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Male panda is a 'water baby', says vet

Publication Date : 23-05-2014

 

Fu Wa, the eight year old giant panda from Chengdu loves splashing around in water and enjoys taking long baths.

“If you let him, he will play in the water all day long,” said Chinese veterinarian Dr Li Caiwu (pic) who arrived in Malaysia with the two pandas yesterday.

Fu Wa’s partner, Feng Yi, on the other hand, he said, was very nervous around new people.

“She is afraid at first, but once she gets familiar with you, she can recognise you just by hearing your footsteps and will run towards you,” said the vet who has been caring for the two pandas since they were infants.

Dr Li, in an exclusive interview with The Star outside the pandas’ new home in Zoo Negara (Malaysia's national zoo) yesterday, said the pandas were already starting to adapt to their new environment although they still showed signs of nervousness.

“They are better today than they were yesterday but we still see them pacing around in their dens especially when they hear unfamiliar sounds or see unfamiliar people.

“They have not completely adapted to the new surroundings yet,” said the 33-year old veterinarian who will be staying here for three months to help the pandas adapt.

Dr Li, who has been working with pandas in China for the past 10 years, said he loved Fu Wa and Feng Yi like his own children.

“I have been taking care of them every day for the past seven years.

“It will be very difficult for me to leave them after three months, but I will leave them in capable hands after training the staff here. I have to go back home and take care of the other pandas there too,” he said.

Dr Li checks on the pandas three times a day to ensure they are eating well and to train the zoo staff in caring for the animals.

On the long flight from Chengdu to Malaysia on Wednesday, he said Fu Wa, the male panda was more nervous than Feng Yi.

“They have travelled within China before, they went to Beijing for the Olympics, so they were not very scared of flying,” he said.

Pandas, he said, were generally strong and healthy animals and did not easily fall sick.

Asked which panda was his favourite, Dr Li just smiled and said he could not choose between the two.

“They were both born at the same time and I have been taking care of them since they were young. I love them both equally,” he said.

Fu Wa and Feng Yi will to be quarantined for a month at the Giant Panda Conservation and Exhibition Centre at Zoo Negara before being displayed to the public.

Pandas are ‘envoys’ of positive energy

The 1.6-hectare panda complex has enclosures with steep terrain, wooden playgrounds and ice blocks that mimic their natural environment.

The pandas’ new names are set to be announced by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak during the grand opening of the enclosure at the end of June.

On June 15, 2012, the Malaysian and Chinese governments signed a deal for Feng Yi and Fu Wa to be loaned to Malaysia for 10 years to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries this year.


 

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