Negotiations over return of female giant panda Fu Bao in South Korea reportedly to kick off in August
Published: Jul 08, 2023 01:52 PM
Photo: CFP

Photo: CFP

Negotiation over the return of Fu Bao, the first giant panda born in South Korea through natural breeding, is about to kick off in August, according to media reports.

Fu Bao was born on July 20, 2020 in the Panda World at Everland Resort. According to the leasing contract between the two countries, she is scheduled to return to China for breeding before turning four years old. 

Giant pandas usually enter maturity at around four years old. Female pandas aged five to six are able to start reproducing. Male pandas usually become sexually mature one year later than females, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Fu Bao's mother Ai Bao and father Le Bao arrived in South Korea in March 2016 on a 15-year lease. Their names, Le Bao and Ai Bao, mean pleasant and lovely treasures.

Like their names, the family has been treated like treasure and family during their stay at the Everland Resort. One of the breeders Kang Cherwon, called Grandpa Kang by Chinese netizens, became popular on Chinese social media platforms due to his devotion toward the animals.

Ai Bao is currently pregnant with her second child, with breeders taking care of her around the clock, according to the China Central Television.  

According to media reports, Fu Bao probably will settle down in the Bifengxia panda base in Ya'an of Southwest China's Sichuan Province and become a neighbor of female giant panda Xiang Xiang, who returned from the Ueno Zoo in Japan in February.

As initial plans to repatriate some pandas were interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic over a three-year period, China is witnessing a returning wave of giant pandas this year after the country optimized the epidemic response. 

Together with Xiang Xiang, another three giant pandas Yong Ming, a male, and his twin daughters Ying Bang and Tao Bang also returned from Japan to China in February. 

Giant Panda Yuan Meng reportedly will be back on July 25. Born in the Zoo Parc de Bauval on August 4, 2017, Yuan Meng is the first panda cub born in France.

Edinburgh Zoo's giant panda pair Yang Guang, a male, and Tian Tian, a female, will also return to China later this year after their 12-year stay in Scotland.  

Global Times