Lun Lun and Yang Yang, a pair of adult giant pandas on loan from China to Zoo Atlanta in Georgia, USA, recently had to bid farewell to their US-born children and send them to the Orient to discover their heritage.
The twin baby pandas Mei Lun and Mei Huan were born on July 15 2013 in Zoo Atlanta, and as the first surviving panda twins to be born in the US, were the cause of much celebration.
However, under the terms of the loan of their parents from China, the two youngsters must be returned to their ancestral homeland before the age of four.
On November 5, the three-year-old panda sisters arrived in China to begin their new life. But the transition hasn’t been all smooth sailing.
According to Luo Yunhong, a breeder at the Chengdu Giant Panda Research Base, Mei Lun and Mei Huan are still refusing to learn the local language and persist in their addiction to American foods.
Apparently the twins have such a liking for the American-style crackers they regularly ate in Atlanta, that the only way to wean them onto bamboo, apples and Chinese bread is to mix everything with the crackers.
Mei Huan, the quieter and less active of the two, is starting to accept her new diet however her more adventurous sister seems to be showing a stubborn streak and only accepts the tastes of home.
While the pair were readily responsive to their names and simple English phrases, they are reluctant to pick up a new language. Luo is showing some promise though and is beginning with simple phrases in the local Sichuan dialect, such as “Chi le mei de?” which means, “Have you eaten yet?”
Ah, a girl’s hunger transcends cultural boundaries.