Qiang Qiang and I – A Keeper’s Story – Part 4 of 4

Qiang Qiang and I

Written by Qiang Zhou, CCRCGP
Translated by Pat Weiyi Zhang

The saddest moment is when separate

After 6 months of intensive care, Qiang Qiang had recovered. His weight increased to 95 kgs. His fur was bright and shining. He was swift and was in good spirits. Except for the amputated hind limbs, he was no different from a normal panda. Once healed, he was transferred to the Bifengxia Panda Base of CCRCGP and I was no longer his keeper. It’s  been years since we separated. I’ve kept him in my heart always, as if he was my child. As long as he is well, it is a sunny day.

Reunion with Qiang Qiang 

In June, 2012, the Dujiangyan Panda Disease Control Center of CCRCGP was formally established. It is located at the foot of the Qingcheng Mountain, the cradle of Daoism, in a quiet valley. Here the mountain peaks are very beautiful, the environment is nice, the air is clear and the climate is comfortable. When the first group of pandas was transferred to the center, Qiang Qiang was one of them. Due to the increased workload, I was sent to work at the new center. When I saw Qiang Qiang again, I was so happy. He was already 27 years old, which is considered senior age for a giant panda. After many years of separation, he was healthy and in good spirits.  I felt very gratified. If it were not for the missing hind limbs, I would never have connected him to the panda who was fighting with death a few years ago. In that moment, I felt deep respect: a respect for nature, respect for its fairness, respect for strength, respect for the panda, respect for his life that could not be put down, respect for people, respect for those people like me who had devoted their youth to protecting the giant pandas.    

Road to the future 

The successful rescue of Qiang Qiang is a miracle in panda protection. It is also an important milestone in panda rescue by the center. The rescue was an exeptional experience for the cause of panda protection and will provide scientific data to future rescue of endangered animals.

In the future, we will continue protect nature, protect the giant panda, encourage energy responsibility, promote protection of all wildlife, and do a better job in panda rescue, breeding and protection etc.  

We believe if all humans take actions to protect  wildlife, stop trading, killing, harming them, giving them a nice environment in which to exist, the ecological balance of nature will be maintained, and the earth will be our beautiful home.  

There is long way to go. We will try our best!  

PI Note:  While in China last November, we were honored to visit Qiang Qiang and the other disabled pandas at the Dujiangyan Center.  We were captivated by their strength, their determination, and their very presence.  The staff at the center are the epitome of “caretakers” – seeing to the pandas needs with knowledge, love, and devotion.  We’d simply like to take this moment to acknowledge all they do!