Tian Bao will spend 2022 in Belgian Picardy
The eldest of the giant pandas born in Belgium, Tian Bao (which means ‘sparkling star’), will remain at Pairi Daiza animal park again this year. The friendly bear, which has become the global symbol of endangered animal species, was born in 2016 in Brugelette Zoo, near Ath.
As part of the programme for safeguarding the giant panda species, there were plans for him to leave for China when he reached the age of four. His trip had been postponed by a year due to the pandemic. Today, an agreement between the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) and Pairi Daiza states that Tian Bao will also remain in Belgium in 2022.
As for the twin pandas, Bao Di and Bao Mei, they will be separated from their mother, Hoa Hoa, and move to a space specially designed for them. This separation is necessary to restart procreation attempts, because a female panda does not reproduce while she is with her cubs.
The reproduction of giant pandas is a real challenge, even if assisted. Females are fertile for only one to three days a year; if we add to that their almost total absence of libido and their solitary instinct, we can see the difficulties that veterinarians will have to deal with in ensuring that Hao Hao (which means ‘kind’) becomes a mum again. Let's keep our fingers crossed that Pairi Daiza can again announce a rare event, for both Belgium and Europe.