At 13:35 on December 12, the staff of the China Giant Panda Conservation and Research Center successfully recaptured the giant panda “Qiao Qiao” and its cubs in the wild of Tiantai Mountain.
After recapture, they would be carefully inspected by the staff of the Protection Center. The information and data obtained from the inspection could serve as an important reference for future research on the reproduction of giant pandas in the wild environment.
“Qiao Qiao” is the second giant panda successfully introduced and born in the wild after the Giant Panda Wild Introduction Project in 2017. After the giant panda “Cao Cao”, its cubs were the first pair of cubs born in the wild.
According to the relevant personnel in charge of the management office of the Wolong Hetaoping Base of the Panda Center, in March this year, the giant panda “Qiao Qiao” was sent to Tiantai Mountain for introduction to the wild. In early April, Qiao Qiao successfully mated with a wild male panda. The staff then continued to monitor it in the wild.
On the morning of September 16, “Qiao Qiao” showed obvious prenatal behaviors such as walking frequently and irritability. At 11:55, the amniotic fluid of Qiao Qiao leaked, and at 13:06 “Qiao Qiao” gave birth to a cub.
At 15:45, it successfully gave birth to a second cub. One of the young cubs was sent to Shenshuping base by the staff for artificial nurturing, and the other one was nurtured by Qiao Qiao. Today, the little cub that was “caught” was the same one that was nurtured by Qiao Qiao.
Why was it done like that?
According to the relevant person in charge of China Giant Panda Protection Research Center, artificial captive pandas will be put into the wild environment after wild training, and they would mate with wild pandas.
The pups that would participate in the breeding process can add new genes and vitality to the captive panda population. This practice can achieve the exchange of genes between the wild and captive populations.
“The successful introductions for three consecutive years have allowed us to further explore and study new ways of wild training and release, allowing wild-introduced pandas to independently deliver, bring up panda cubs and realize releasing themselves in the wild, thereby effectively improving the genetic diversity of the wild population, enabling the revival of small panda populations in the wild.”
Following the successful introduction of the giant panda “Cao Cao” in the wild, Qiao Qiao successfully gave birth to a pair of twins introduced in the wild, which once again proved the professionalism and scientific nature of the technical strength of the Panda Center. Furthermore, it also proved the scientific nature and feasibility of introducing giant pandas in the wild.