Saint-Aignan (France), Jan 13 (IANS) Five-month-old Yuan Meng, the first giant panda cub born in France, made its public debut on Saturday at the Beauval Zoo here in central France.
The male baby panda, born on August 4, appeared alongside its mother Huan Huan behind a glass wall in their lavish home adorned with Chinese lanterns and rockeries, amid cheers, Xinhua news agency reported.
The name “Yuan Meng”, meaning “the realisation of a dream” in Chinese, was given to the baby panda in December at a ceremony attended by its “Godmother”, France’s First Lady Brigitte Macron.
A large group of fans were attracted to the zoo to get a first glimpse of the panda cub. Hundreds of people were seen queuing at the entrance around 9 a.m., an hour before the zoo opened.
Delphine Delord, chief of communication at the zoo, took the opportunity to brief the first visitors on the challenging reproduction process of pandas, and the protection of the endangered animals.
“We have been trying artificial insemination for years, and the birth of Yuan Meng was a success in the protection of pandas,” Delord said.
Yuan Meng has grown from only 142 grams at birth to 11 kg over the past months, and is doing very well physically, she added.
Two Chinese zookeepers are currently staying in Beauval to train their French colleagues on how to take care of the baby panda.
The parents of Yuan Meng, Huan Huan and Yuan Zi, arrived in France in January 2012 on a 10-year loan from China.
Since the couple’s arrival, the number of visitors to the Beauval Zoo has doubled, and is expected to have reached 1.5 million in 2017, Delord told Xinhua.
“With the debut of Yuan Meng, we expect more visitors in 2018,” she said.
There are fewer than 2,000 pandas living in the wild, while around 400 live in captivity, according to China’s State Forestry Administration.