Chinese netizens warmly welcome giant panda Ya Ya’s return to Beijing Zoo following one month in quarantine
Published: May 29, 2023 01:27 PM Updated: May 29, 2023 01:21 PM
Giant panda Ya Ya is happily surrounded by bamboo and bamboo shoots on May 29, 2023, after returning to the Beijing Zoo, where she was born 23 years ago. Photo: VCG

Giant panda Ya Ya is happily surrounded by bamboo and bamboo shoots on May 29, 2023, after returning to the Beijing Zoo, where she was born 23 years ago. Photo: VCG

Chinese netizens warmly welcomed giant panda Ya Ya's return on Monday to the Beijing Zoo where she was born in 2000, and expressed their excitement for her improving health.

Thanks to the joint efforts of relevant authorities and all parties in Beijing and Shanghai, Ya Ya successfully passed the quarantine and arrived safely in Beijing by chartered plane at 0:34 am on Monday, according to the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.

A woman surnamed Li from the animal protection society told the Global Times that she was very moved when she saw the plane carrying Ya Ya land at the airport early in the morning.

Li, who had been fighting for the return of Ya Ya to China since she learned of Ya Ya's living conditions at the Memphis Zoo in the US, had tears in her eyes as she saw her safe return to Beijing. "We volunteers all hope that Ya Ya can stay in Beijing for the rest of her life and forget her previous suffering," Li said.

At present, Ya Ya is in stable health.

On the first day Ya Ya reached her home, a Global Times reporter saw the Beijing Zoo received visits of many online influencers who livestreamed giant pandas, though Ya Ya has not yet met the visitors.

As Zhang was livestreaming giant panda Meng Meng who was lying on the ground sleeping, many of his followers and viewers kept asking about Ya Ya and her situation in the zoo.

Zhang's livestream had received more than 28,000 views at one point. "I guess I will film Ya Ya again when she is ready to meet the public. Chinese netizens care so much about her. For me, I didn't dare to look at pictures of her skinny body, which made me heartbroken. Hope she will live a better life at home," Zhang told the Global Times.

A staffer at the Beijing Zoo told the Global Times on Monday morning that the flow of visitors seemed heavier than usual. She said she is not sure of the specific location where Ya Ya will stay. Some media reports said Ya Ya will be a neighbor of Meng Lan, a popular panda hailed by netizens as "the 3rd Prince of Xizhimen."

Netizens warmly welcomed Ya Ya's return to the Beijing Zoo and expressed their affection for her. "Just one month after she returned to China, Ya Ya is completely different from what she looked like at the Memphis Zoo. We hope that Ya Ya can take a good rest, eat more fresh bamboo and have a wonderful life ahead," one netizen said, receiving 20,000 likes.

The video published by CCTV News showed Ya Ya sitting in a room full of fresh bamboo shoots and enjoying a few comfortable rolls on the floor.

"Watching the video of Ya Ya eating on the floor full of bamboo brought me to tears. It was the moment for which Ya Ya had been waiting for 20 years. It is hoped that Ya Ya can get rid of her skin disease and be happy every day," another netizen said.

In view of Ya Ya's advanced age and changing living environment, experienced keepers and veterinarians from the Beijing Zoo were assigned to watch her 24/7 to take care of feeding, nursing and health monitoring during the quarantine period at the Shanghai Zoo.

The Beijing Zoo has prepared a special breeding facility for Ya Ya, formulated specific plans for her feeding, nursing, medical care and nutrition, and arranged a team to continue to take care of her.

Ya Ya has reached the age of 23 and needs rest while adapting to a new environment after returning to Beijing. The zoo said it will regularly release information about Ya Ya on its official Weibo account.