It’s official, Giant Panda Zhang Xiang, twin sister of Su Shan (named after director Suzanne Braden), will be released into the wild on November 6, 2013. The two-year-old panda will be released into the Liziping Nature Reserve in Sichuan where male panda Tao Tao was released in October 2012.
Zhang xiang at 6 months with mother Zhang Ka
Zhang Xiang was the first born twin to parents Zhang Ka (a wild-born female) and Bai Yang (also wild-born). She spent 26 months of “wild” training in the Hetaoping reintroduction program following a similar training model as that used with Tao Tao. She learned survival skills from her mother in a semi-wild environment to maximize the likelihood of reintroduction success. She has effectively learned to identify and avoid predators, has mastered the skill of feeding herself, and can independently find water and shelter. Her training results indicate that she has all of the skills necessary for reintroduction and researchers feel she should adapt quickly to a wild environment.