Panda Wang Wang takes a bath during its birthday in Adelaide Zoo, Adelaide, Australia, on Aug. 26, 2018. In the chorus of “Happy Birthday to You” from visitors on Sunday, the keepers in Adelaide Zoo of south Australia gave the pandas cakes to celebrate their birthday. (Xinhua/Wang Xiaotong)
ADELAIDE, Australia, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) — In the chorus of “Happy Birthday to You” from visitors on Sunday, the keepers in Adelaide Zoo of south Australia gave the pandas cakes to celebrate their birthday.
“I hope that they have a good time,” said senior keeper Lucy Catt.
Adelaide Zoo is the second oldest zoo in Australia, boasting a history of more than 130 years with more than 2,500 animals. Pandas Wang Wang (meaning Net Net) and Fu Ni (meaning Lucky Girl) arrived in November 2009 as the first pandas in the Southern Hemisphere.
According to Catt, Fu Ni is “an intelligent and playful girl who loves interacting with zoo keepers,” while Wang Wang is a “laid-back boy and more independent than Fu Ni.”
Wang Wang was born on Aug. 31, 2005, while Fu Ni’s birthday was Aug. 23, 2006.
Zoo keepers decorated their gardens with artificial snow flakes and snowman. “Fu Ni likes to see snow,” Catt said. “I hope the decoration could make her happy.”
Outside the garden many visitors watched and took photos. A father had to carry his daughter on shoulders so that the girl could see the pandas. When asked by Xinhua what he would like to say to the pandas, the unnamed father said: “Happy birthday and enjoy the sunshine.”
Felicity McClury, a 12-year-old girl wrote down her blessing for the pandas on a board like many others did. “I really like pandas,” she said. “They are lovely, with very good personality.”
Catt told Xinhua that every day after the pandas enjoyed their breakfast, the keepers cleaned their rooms. In the afternoon they have training, including painting.
“We hold the canvas when they paint with brush,” she said. “When we say ‘paint’, they start. They could understand English perfectly well.”
Both pandas are Virgo, so they are picky with food. Catt said that they had a plantation of 30 acres growing bamboo for the pandas. They also receive donations. Altogether there are 20 types of bamboos for them to choose from.
“Their taste changes,” she said. “We give them whatever they would like to eat.”
The pandas brought more visitors to the zoo. According to Catt, in the first year they arrived in Adelaide, they help increase the tourism income of South Australia by 40 million Australian dollars (about 29.3 million U.S. dollars). Last year the zoo had 600,000 visitors.
According to contract, Wang Wang and Fu Ni will stay in Adelaide for 10 years, and 2019 is the last year.
“We would like to see the contract renewed,” Catt said. “We really hope that they could continue to stay here.”
The failure of these pandas to have a baby also worried keepers.
“During their mating season we would keep Fu Ni in a very comfortable and quiet place and give her everything she wants,” Catt said. “Fingers crossed that she will have a baby soon.”