Giant panda in Zoo Atlanta not neglected

Yang Yang, a male giant panda at Zoo Atlanta in the United States, is in good health, the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding said over the weekend, addressing online

rumors that he had been seen gnawing on walls due to hunger.

Concerns were raised recently after videos of Yang Yang, one of a pair of pandas sent to the US in 1999, spread online. They showed him foaming at the mouth, vomiting and gnawing on walls, and led some people to ask whether Yang Yang was being treated improperly.

In a detailed response posted on social media on Saturday that explained panda behavior, the panda research base in Chengdu, Sichuan province, denied rumors that Yang Yang had been fainting or lacked food.

It said foaming at the mouth is a normal physiological response for giant pandas during extensive movement, and vomiting is a natural way for the animals to expel mucous.

The base also said that gnawing and scratching are common behaviors when giant pandas explore their environment.

It said the giant pandas at Zoo Atlanta are adequately provided for and are not experiencing any issues related to insufficient food intake. Each animal is offered over 40 kilograms of bamboo or bamboo shoots a day, with small amounts of fruits and vegetables and high-fiber biscuits as supplements.

Chinese and US teams had confirmed that what online rumors had described as diarrhea was in fact a mix of bamboo shoot feces and urine, the base said.

Since their arrival in Atlanta, Yang Yang and Lun Lun have produced seven offspring. In accordance with agreements between China and the US, the pair's repatriation is being prepared.

The base said it has established a stable and effective communication channel with Zoo Atlanta to ensure regular exchanges on the care and medical treatment of the giant pandas.

"Each giant panda residing overseas serves not only as an adorable 'ambassador of friendship' but also as a precious national treasure, with their every action touching our hearts," it said.

The base closely monitors the living conditions of each overseas giant panda, provides guidance to their foreign caretakers and sends experts to conduct annual on-site inspections in collaboration with foreign teams, it said.

Based on an international conservation and research cooperation signed by China and the US in February, two giant pandas — Yun Chuan and Xin Bao — will be sent to San Diego Zoo in California.

Beijing sent the first pair of giant pandas to the US in 1972, just weeks after then-US president Richard Nixon's historic visit to China.