New life in Pairi Daiza
At Pairi Daiza wildlife park, Hao Hao the giant panda gave birth to her first cub, which was a male. The first contact between mother and cub went very well.
Eric Domb, founder and director of Pairi Daiza, was visibly delighted at a press conference organised for this wonderful event. He gave extensive and particular thanks to the Chinese experts, the zookeepers and especially vet Tim Bouts from UGent.
According to the latter, there was uncertainty for a long time as to whether Hao Hao was actually pregnant. She was inseminated on numerous occasions using sperm from Xing Hui, the male panda at Pairi Daiza. The fertilisation attempt appeared to be successful in mid-February. The zookeepers could subsequently observe from a number of behavioural changes that Hao Hao was expecting.
For the time being, mother and cub and staying together at the care centre. It is not yet known when the public will get the chance to see them. The small panda will stay at Pairi Daiza zoo for four years, before being moved to China.
Worldwide, there are currently fewer than 2,000 giant pandas left in the wild. Every birth is therefore crucial for conserving the species. After Austria and Spain, Belgium is only the third European country to welcome the birth of a giant panda.