It has finally been confirmed! The pandas coming to ZooParc de Beauval are a female called Huan Huan, and a male called Yuan Zi.
They were both born at the breeding and research base in Chengdu, China. Huan Huan and her twin were born August 10th, 2008. She weighed only 98 grams at birth! Yuan Zi was born September 6th, 2008 and was his mother Yuan Yuan’s first baby. He weighed 151g at birth.
Where did there names come from?
Yuan Zi’s mother, was called Yuan Yuan because her head is very round, which is ‘Yuan’ in Chinese. The other part of his name, Zi, means ‘son’ in Chinese. So Yuan Zi means ‘the son of one that has a round head!’
Huan Huan was born the year of the Beijing Olympics. That same year, five baby pandas were born at the Chengdu base and were named, Bei Bei, Jing Jing, Huan Huan, Ying Ying and Ni Ni. These names were based on the tagline for the Olympics in Beijing, ‘Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni’, which means ‘Beijing is pleased to welcome you’. Huan Huan is one of these five babies and his name means ‘welcome’ or ‘great joy’
At just over three years old, this couple is still young, as giant pandas become sexually mature at around 5 years of age. Huan Huan and Yuan Zi will soon be moved to Beauval, under a cooperative agreement of research, breeding and conservation work on giant pandas carried out in direct contact with Chinese researchers from the Chengdu panda base. The whole Beauval team hopes that they will arrive in the coming weeks, once transport arrangements, administrative procedures and health surveys have been completed.
To be continued …