Zookeepers at Austria’s Schönbrunn zoo are starting early to prepare Fu Hu for the long trip back to his Chinese homeland – expected to happen in early November.
Austria’s Schönbrunn zoo has two giant pandas on loan from China and under the terms of the agreement for the loan of the pair any offspring need to be returned to China within two years of being born. Zoo director Dagmar Schratter said: “At this stage the young pandas will leave their parents anyway when they are in the wild. We are already noticing that his mother Yang Yang is starting to get a bit fed up with him.”
To prepare him for the trip, zookeepers are rewarding him with carrots and sweet potatoes every time he gets into the travel cage that will be used to transport him. Along with the sweet treats, some of the bamboo that the panda regularly eats is also being put in the crate to get him used to the enclosure. At some stage the create will be closed and he will be lifted into the air to get used to the movement.
“This strategy worked very well with his brother,” said Panda keeper Renata Haider, “and we are hoping that it will work well with him as well. When Fu Long was shipped back to China it worked really well – he was very relaxed over the whole journey and simply ate bamboo or slept.” Fu Hu will be accompanied on his journey by his keeper as well as two other zoo officials. They will then remain for a couple of weeks to make sure he feels good in his new home before returning to Austria.
Once back in China he will end up at the panda research Centre at Bifengxia where his brother is also located and Chinese officials hope he will eventually have a family of his own.
Source: Austrian Times