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Zoo marks Chinese Valentine's Day with panda family reunion

2013/08/13 17:18:27

Taipei, Aug. 13 (CNA) Taipei Zoo marked Qixi Festival, also referred to as Chinese Valentine's Day, on Tuesday with a unique family reunion video showing giant panda Yuan Yuan holding her month-old cub for the first time since giving birth.

The heartwarming 4-minute video shows Yuan Yuan embracing her newborn daughter, nicknamed Yuanzai, despite some initial awkwardness on the part of the new mom.

Yuan Yuan at first appears nervous as she tries to calm down the crying cub, but two eventually settle down and become comfortable with one another, at which point on-screen text explains that "they finally found the right way to hug each other after numerous attempts."

The video then cuts to both Yuan Yuan and Yuanzai caught in a deep sleep, presumably exhausted from the excitement of their five-hour-long reunion.

Zoo officials said the video is meant as a special gift for sweethearts on the Qixi Festival, a holiday that commemorates the story of two lovers separated by a silver river who can only see each other on this one day of the year.

The festival, which fell on Tuesday this year, is marked on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month on the Chinese calendar.

Taipei Zoo has been trying to familiarize Yuan Yuan with her daughter because Yuanzai, now 39-days old, is expected to open her eyes for the first time within the week.

"We hope that the first thing that Yuanzai sets her eyes on is her mother," said zoo spokesman Chang Chi-hua.

Nicknamed Yuanzai, which literally means "Yuan Yuan's child," the newborn is the product of four years of artificial insemination attempts between father Tuan Tuan and mother Yuan Yuan, the two giant pandas in the Taipei Zoo. Born at just 183.4 grams, Yuanzai had grown to 1,700 grams as of Tuesday, the zoo said.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)