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Yuan Meng should have joined China at the age of 3 or 4, but his departure was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Goodbye Beauval. Yuan Meng, the first baby panda born in France, in August 2017, at the ZooParc de Beauval, will join China on July 4, announced Thursday May 4 to AFP the zoological park of Saint-Aignan (Loir-et-Cher ). Now a young adult, the panda star will settle this summer at the Center for Research and Reproduction of the Giant Panda in Chengdu (China), « to breed with an unrelated female »said the director of the zoo, Rodolphe Delord.
The one whose name means « fulfillment of a dream » in Chinese will take up residence « in large parks » du Sichuan, « where are his parents from ». « He will not be released into the wild, but his children may be reintroduced »said Rodolphe Delord. “There is now enough genetic diversity for reintroduction”, he observed. A month before his departure, Yuan Meng, whose godmother is Brigitte Macron, will be placed in quarantine.
« It’s the logical next step »
On July 4, the two-tone mammal will then head for Frankfurt Airport (Germany) in an air-conditioned truck. A trainer and a veterinarian from Beauval will accompany him to Chengdu. Yuan Meng was originally supposed to join China at the age of 3 or 4, but his stay was extended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. « There is a lot of emotion. For us, it’s an event, but it’s the logical continuation. What matters to us is the conservation of the species »reacted Rodolphe Delord.
True stars of Beauval, its progenitors Yuan Zi and Huan Huan, loaned since 2012 by the Chinese authorities, recently had their stay extended until 2027. Outside of China, only about twenty zoological parks have these herbivorous plantigrades, symbols diplomatic friendships from Beijing.
Giant pandas are on the global red list of endangered species established by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due in particular to global warming which threatens their habitat. Initially classified as an « endangered » species, the giant panda has joined since 2016 the status of « vulnerable » species, in particular thanks to the protection and reforestation efforts undertaken by Beijing.