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U.S. athlete reunites with giant panda Mei Lan in Chengdu after 17 years

2023-08-09 Editor : Zhang Dongfang ECNS App Download

(ECNS) -- U.S. fencer Kamar Skeete, 21, met the giant panda Mei Lan again in Chengdu, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, during the 31st FISU World University Games after years of separation.

Giant panda Mei Lan was born in on September 6, 2006 at the Atlanta Zoo and young Skeete was there at that time. Mei Lan is the first giant panda born after China and the U.S. launched a collaborative research plan focusing on giant panda breeding.

“We live at both ends of the earth, and it may not recognize me. But I still hope it can recognize me,” said Skeete. “Most importantly, both we have grown up and met again thanks to the Universiade."

Skeete is currently studying at Pennsylvania State University. He has been sharing his experiences in Chengdu on social media, including his visit to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and the life of Chengdu locals, which has drawn attention from both China and the U.S.

He noted that this is the third time that he has visited China, following his visit to Beijing and south China’s Shenzhen when he was 10. He also visited Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, for games.

“Every time I come to China, I feel different,” said Skeete, adding that China is like an umbrella with diverse things under it.

Skeete said this is the first time he has visited Chengdu and the city is much bigger than he had expected. “This is a very pleasant experience, and Chengdu people are very helpful.” The games have offered him chances to know new friends from across the world, he said.

He hopes to explore the city more, taste delicious food and learn about more Chinese culture before returning to the U.S., said Skeete.  “It would be great if there were more people like me who like to hug new things.”


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