The public concerns over giant panda Ya Ya in the U.S. has grown into a spontaneous "campaign" among Chinese people all around the world to check how pandas are surviving in overseas zoos.
Chinese netizens around the world recently volunteered to visit nearby zoos that host pandas and posted on Chinese social media platforms videos that showed pandas' living conditions. These videos had been viewed for nearly 50 million times as of Thursday.
In the videos, a panda was showed eating bamboos in the yard of the Beauval Zoo in France while another panda is seemingly sleeping on the grass and a third one sleeping on the tree.
A pair of twin panda cubs were born in the Beauval Zoo in August 2021. Their mother Huan Huan and father Yuan Zai arrived in France in 2012.
At the Vienna Zoo in Austria, a giant panda was witnessed chomping on abundant bamboos storks. In 2003, the Chinese government loaned Yang Yang and Long Hui to Austria. Long Hui died in December 2016 and another male panda Yuan Yuan showed up for public viewing in the zoo from the end of May 2019.
In the Zoo Atlanta in the U.S., which is home to four giant pandas, some giant pandas were showed in the circulating videos playing with each other in a swing and eating fresh bamboos.
In the videos recorded in the U.S. National Zoo in Washington D.C., mother panda Mei Xiang was recorded wandering across grassland, father panda Tian Tian was eating bamboo and their son Xiao Qi Ji sitting on the grass enjoying some sugarcane.
Among all the overseas zoos that had been "surprisingly inspected," Moscow Zoo and the Panda World of Everland Resort in South Korea stood out as Chinese netizens praised their efforts in taking good care of Ding Ding and Ru Yi who arrived in Russia in 2019 and Fu Bao, the first panda cub born in South Korea.
In videos circulating on Chinese social media platforms, Ding Ding and Ru Yi dragged buckets full of water, did a somersault on a swing frame and took down swing, showing energetic and powerful characters that are distinctively different from the cute and clumsy stereotype image of giant pandas.
The pair not only displayed a vibrant character, but reportedly gained weight since they started living in the Moscow Zoo, according to media reports.
"Giant pandas restored their nature in Russia." "They are real kungfu pandas." Chinese enthusiastically commented on the videos of Ding Ding and Ru Yi.
In Everland Resort in South Korea, Fu Bao, born in 2020, has been cared like a princess by her breeders, who made various toys for her including glasses and mobile phone made with bamboos.
One of the breeders Kang Cherwon, called Grandpa Kang by Chinese netizens, also learned Chinese and wrote Chinese characters together with Fu Bao as he wanted Fu Bao to get used to Chinese language so that he could made friends after returning to China when she reached the age to come back to China for mating, usually when the cub is between 3-4 years old.
"Meeting Fu Bao is the luckiest thing during my 34 years' work in the zoo," Grandapa Kang told media.
The life of these pandas revealed a sharp contrast to that of Ya Ya at the Memphis Zoo, which had raised concerns among panda fans around the world since February.
In the latest move over the issue, Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens released a notice on Wednesday saying that the Beijing Zoo would send staff including veterinarians and keepers to the U.S. next week, and will accompany the beloved panda Ya Ya back to China.
We hope the issue of Ya Ya could raise public attention on the living conditions of giant pandas and related institutes should conduct regular inspection to ensure they live healthily and happily in the overseas zoos, netizens commented.