Baby panda to stay in Belgian animal park for four years

Brussels, June 4 (IANS) A baby panda born in Belgium on June 2 will remain at the Pairi Daiza animal park for four years before returning to China, park spokeswoman Aleksandra Vidanovski said on Saturday.

“The baby panda which Hao Hao gave birth to will remain for four years, the time to reach adulthood before leaving — as China remains the animal’s owner,” Xinhua quoted her as saying.

She said the park will consult with China on what the panda should be called, adding, “We are not in a rush (to choose a name) — for now the most important thing is to ensure the baby’s survival.”

According to the Belgian press, it could be 100 days before the panda’s name will be made public, in keeping with Chinese tradition, allowing enough time to ensure the baby is healthy.

Pairi Daiza animal park manager and main shareholder Eric Domb said: “All I can tell you is that it will be a Chinese name and it will evoke something poetic.”

Hao Hao gave birth to her baby, weighing 171 grams, in Pairi Daiza. A panda birth is an extremely rare event in Europe — and Belgium is the third European country to have succeeded, with the help of Chinese experts. There are fewer than 2,000 giant pandas in the world.

The birth was made possible following an artificial insemination performed in February by a Sino-Belgian veterinary team. The sperm belonged to Hao Hao’s partner, Xing Hui, who is also on loan from China.



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