Zoo Atlanta’s giant panda isn’t neglected

Yang Yang, a male giant panda at Zoo Atlanta in the United States, is in good health, the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Base said this weekend, responding to online rumors that he was reportedly seen gnawing on the walls due to hunger.

Concerns were raised recently after videos surfaced online of Yang Yang, one of two pandas sent to the United States in 1999. They showed him foaming at the mouth, vomiting and gnawing on walls, and brought some people wondered if Yang Yang was being treated inappropriately.

In a detailed response posted on social media on Saturday explaining the pandas’ behavior, the Chengdu Panda Research Base in Sichuan province denied rumors that Yang had fainted or was running out of food.

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

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

He said Zoo Atlanta’s giant pandas are properly fed and have no problems related to insufficient food intake. Each animal is offered more than 40 kilograms of bamboo or bamboo shoots per day, along with small amounts of fruits and vegetables and fiber-rich biscuits as supplements.

Chinese and American teams confirmed that what online rumors described as diarrhea was in fact a mixture of bamboo shoot droppings and urine, the base said.

Since arriving in Atlanta, Yang Yang and Lun Lun have given birth to seven offspring. In accordance with agreements between China and the United States, the repatriation of the two men 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 giant pandas.

“Each giant panda residing abroad serves not only as an adorable ‘ambassador of friendship’ but also as a precious national treasure, with each of their actions touching our hearts,” it reads.

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

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

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