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Panda And I – Part 1 Of 2

/ Post by Weiyi Zhang (Pat) via Pandas International

I think my passion for pandas can date back to childhood. When my parents took me to the zoo when I was a kid, I would always like to go to the Panda Hall directly and visit the beautiful lovely pandas first. I collected panda pins, panda stamps and panda envelopes. Although I can no longer find those souvenirs, I still remember how pretty they looked.

My first close encounter with a panda was in May 2003. I was on a business trip in Chengdu and had half a day of free time. It was my first time in Chengdu, but I did not hesitate to choose the Chengdu Panda Base for a visit. For the first time, I saw 12 pandas in one place and they were of different ages and sizes and were doing different activities. Each one was so beautiful and cute!

My luck came when from far away I saw a foreign lady holding a panda cub on her lap and taking pictures. I told myself, “I would like to do that too.” So I started to run. When I arrived, the keeper was taking the panda cub back to the enclosure. I stopped her and said, “I would like to hold the panda and take pictures too.” The keeper said, “Well, you have to pay 200 yuan.” I said, “No, problem. I just want to do something for the pandas.” So for the first time in my life I held a panda cub and had pictures taken with a real panda. She felt so lovely and soft that any one’s heart could be melted. Later I learned that the panda cub I held was called Ya Shuang, and that she had a twin sister. She was about 7 months old then. I saw her again in March 2012 when she was already 10 years old and was already a mom.

Look for the conclusion of Pat’s story on Saturday!