Cubs at Hetaoping – Why are They Special?

We love updating about all of the cubbies being born around the world this year and there are sure to be many more announcements in the coming weeks, but this week we wanted to focus in on a couple of cubs born at Old Wolong (Hetaoping).  Cubs born at Hetaoping are a bit “special” as captive born cubs go.  They are born into semi-wild enclosures and are raised with minimal human intervention as part of the reintroduction program of CCRCGP.  Essentially, what this means is that cubs born at Hetaoping will likely, one day, be released into the wild.

On July 6, Cao Cao gave birth to twins at Old Wolong. Cao Cao is no stranger to the reintroduction program.  She is the mother of Tao Tao (pictured to the right with his mom), the male panda released into the wild last year (you can read more about him HERE).  As pandas are not able to raise both cubs, her son was transferred to Bifengxia to be raised by keepers while her daughter remains with Cao Cao.  It will be very interesting to see these two grow.  Biologically, they are siblings, but environmentally their lives will be vastly different.


The second mama panda to deliver at Hetaoping was  Hua Mei (born at the San Diego Zoo).  Her son was born July 18, and both mother and son appear to be doing very well.

As for cubs currently in the reintroduction program – there are two that will be old enough for release this fall so we will be waiting to hear if they have completed training to the satisfaction of researchers for release.  Three more come of age next year.