Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan

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Tuan Tuan (right) and Yuan Yuan (left) chewing on bamboo in Wolong shortly after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Taiwan pandas after earthquake.JPG
Tuan Tuan (right) and Yuan Yuan (left) chewing on bamboo in Wolong shortly after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan are two giant pandas that were sent by the People's Republic of China to Taiwan in 2008 as part of an exchange program. The exchange idea was first proposed in 2005, but the previous administration in Taiwan had refused to accept the pandas. After elections that resulted in a change of presidents in 2008, the Taiwanese government accepted the pandas, and they arrived on December 23, 2008. The two names were selected by a vote in the PRC and their combination, Tuan Yuan, means "reunion" in Chinese. The pandas are housed at Taipei Zoo and have been exhibited to the public since the 2009 Chinese New Year.

Contents

Birth

Tuan Tuan, male, was born to Hua Mei [1] on September 1, 2004, and was assigned as no. 19 in the Wolong National Nature Reserve in Sichuan. Yuan Yuan, female, was born on August 31, 2004, and was assigned as no. 16 in the Wolong National Nature Reserve. Their names, "Tuan Tuan" and "Yuan Yuan", were chosen in an unofficial public poll in mainland China the results of which were revealed live on national television during the 2006 CCTV New Year's Gala. Approximately 130 million mainland Chinese viewers cast their votes. Together, the names produce the Chinese phrase tuan yuan (simplified Chinese :团圆; traditional Chinese :團圓; pinyin :tuán yuán), meaning "reunion".

Proposal and political resistance

The exchange of the pandas was first proposed during the 2005 Pan-Blue visits to mainland China, when politicians from the then-Opposition Pan-Blue coalition, which is comparatively pro-unification in stance, visited mainland China. Chen Yunlin, then the head of the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, announced on May 3, 2005, that Beijing would present two giant pandas to Taipei as part of an exchange program.

The two pandas to be sent to Taiwan were chosen after 218 days of observation and discussion by experts from both mainland China and Taiwan, and were officially announced on January 6, 2006. The Chinese Wildlife Protection Society then began seeking nominations for the names to be given to the pair of pandas. These were announced on the eve of Chinese New Year, 2006 on the CCTV New Year's Gala live on national television. An opinion survey in Taiwan conducted by United Daily News in response to the exchange proposal found 50% of respondents in favour of accepting the pandas, and 34% opposed.

However, the exchange proposal soon met political resistance in Taiwan. On March 31, 2006, the Agricultural Committee of the Executive Yuan in Taiwan decided not to issue permits for the importation, ostensibly on the grounds that the zoos in Taiwan applying for the importation did not meet facility and resource requirements for the proper care and rearing of the pandas, and that importation would not be in the best interest of protecting pandas. However, commentators generally observed that political considerations underlay the technical decision, with the independence-leaning President Chen Shui-bian being opposed to what he saw as a propaganda move by Beijing. [2] [3]

In 2008, Ma Ying-jeou, of the Kuomintang, was elected president, and over the next few months forged stronger economic and political relations with mainland China under his presidency, and was willing to accept them. [4] The offering of pandas a gift from mainland China is often known as "panda diplomacy", and Taipei Zoo expects to draw around 30,000 visitors a day as a result of their arrival. The move was criticized by supporters of Taiwan's independence and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, who said that "Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan means a union, which perfectly matches Beijing's goal of bringing Taiwan into its fold." [4] [5]

Although Taiwan is not a CITES signatory and is therefore not obligated to report to the CITES Secretariat, the Secretariat of CITES said in response to the transfer that it viewed the transfer as an intrastate matter, and thus would be governed by whatever procedures and documentary requirements that are agreed upon by the Beijing and Taipei authorities. Both sides adopted procedures similar to standard CITES procedures for international transfers. On the import-export permits, the origin was listed as the Wolong Nature Reserve Management Office, while the destination was listed as the Taipei City Zoo. [6]

Arrival in Taiwan and reaction

Tuan Tuan at Taipei Zoo Giant Panda Taipei Zoo 20512.jpg
Tuan Tuan at Taipei Zoo

Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan arrived in Taiwan aboard an EVA Air flight on December 23, 2008, and were transported to Taipei Zoo. The arrival of the pandas was met with intense public attention, described by the press as "Pandamania", with the pandas becoming instant celebrities. [7] A variety of merchandise has already appeared, with even buses redecorated in panda-themed livery. [8]

At the same time, there has also been political controversy. The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) continues to see the pandas as a propaganda move by Beijing.[ citation needed ] They have appealed to their supporters not to visit the pandas.

Offspring

Yuan Yuan gave birth to a cub on July 6, 2013, at the Taipei Zoo. The female cub was nicknamed Yuan Zai (also pronounced in Taiwanese Hokkien as Inn-a). Yuan Zai has several meanings: rice ball, and also '(Yuan)Yuan's child'. On October 26, at the zoo's 99th anniversary ceremony, the baby panda was officially named Yuan Zai after a naming activity that saw 60% of the votes go to the cub's nickname. She was also presented an honorary citizen's card on that day. As Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan were sent to Taiwan in exchange for two Formosan sika deer and two Taiwan serows, the cub does not need to be returned. [9] [10]

On June 28, 2020, a second cub was born at the Taipei zoo. [11] This cub was named Yuan Bao.

See also

Related Research Articles

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Chen Deming

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2005 Pan–Blue visits to mainland China

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Panda diplomacy Chinas use of giant pandas as diplomatic tools

Panda diplomacy is the practice of sending giant pandas from China to other countries as a tool of diplomacy.

Tai Shan (giant panda)

Tai Shan is a giant panda born at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. on July 9, 2005. He is the first panda cub born at the National Zoo to survive for more than a few days. He is the oldest brother of Bao Bao, Bei Bei and Xiao Qi Ji.

Taipei Zoo Zoo in Wenshan, Taipei, Taiwan

The Taipei Zoo, sometimes referred to as the "Muzha Zoo", is a public zoological garden in Wenshan District, Taipei, Taiwan. It is the most famous zoological garden in Taiwan and a leader in conservation, research and education, and recreation. It is one of the largest zoos in Asia, with a total area of 165 hectares, of which more than 90 ha are developed.

Hua Mei

Hua Mei is a female giant panda. She is the first giant panda cub to survive to adulthood in the United States. She was born to Bai Yun (mother) and Shi Shi (father) at the San Diego Zoo. Millions of people around the world watched Hua Mei grow up via the zoo's Panda Cam.

Wolong National Nature Reserve

Wolong National Nature Reserve, also known as Wolong Special Administrative Region, is a protected area located in Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province, People's Republic of China. Established in 1963 with an initial size of about 20,000 hectares, the reserve was further expanded in 1975, covering an area of about 200,000 hectares in the Qionglai Mountains region. There are over 4,000 different species recorded in the reserve. According to China's Third National Giant Panda Survey, Wolong National Nature Reserve houses about 150 wild giant pandas. The reserve is also a home to many other endangered species including: snow leopards, red pandas, golden monkeys, white-lipped deer and many precious plants. Before the devastating 2008 Wenchuan earthquake Wolong received up to 200,000 visitors every year.

Tian Tian (male giant panda) Male giant panda

Tian Tian is a 275-pound male giant panda at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. The panda was born on August 27, 1997, at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda at the Wolong National Nature Reserve in Sichuan Province, to Yong Ba (mother) and Pan Pan (father). Tian Tian is the half-brother of Bai Yun, formerly at the San Diego Zoo's.

Bai Yun

Bai Yun was the first female giant panda who was born at the Wolong Giant Panda Research Center in China. From September 1996 she lived at the San Diego Zoo for more than 20 years, until being returned to China in May 2019. Bai Yun gave birth to her sixth cub in 2012 since arriving at the San Diego Zoo, considered the most surviving pandas born at a breeding facility outside of native China. Bai Yun returned to China with her last-born as the 23-year conservation loan of the pandas came to an end between China and San Diego Zoo Global.

Mei Sheng is a male giant panda born at the San Diego Zoo. He is the second panda to be born at the zoo and is the first offspring of Bai Yun and Gao Gao. He is the half-brother of Hua Mei and the brother of Su Lin, Zhen Zhen, Yun Zi, and Xiao Liwu.

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

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Tuan Yuan may refer to:

Yuan Zai (giant panda)

Yuan Zai is a female giant panda born at the Taipei Zoo on July 6, 2013. She is the first panda cub born in Taiwan, to parents Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan by artificial insemination. As Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan were sent to Taiwan from People's Republic of China in exchange for two Formosan sika deer and two Taiwan serows, Yuan Zai does not need to be returned.

Bao Bao Female giant panda (born 2013)

Bao Bao is a female giant panda cub who was born at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. She lived at the Zoo for four years until February 2017. She is currently located at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Sichuan Province. She is the sister of Tai Shan, Bei Bei and Xiao Qi Ji.

As of 2019, there are 26 zoos in 20 countries outside of mainland China that have giant pandas. These zoos have contracts with China to house these pandas for a few years. An exception are the four pandas held at Taipei Zoo in Taiwan, which are not formally owned by China. Giant pandas are on the IUCN Red List so part of the reason these contracts exist between China and international zoos is to try to help the species reproduce before they are brought back to their native land. For this reason, pandas are treated very well.

Bei Bei is a male giant panda cub who was born and lived at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., in the United States. He was part of US-China relations panda diplomacy, and was sent to the People's Republic of China on November 19, 2019 at the age of 4. He is currently at the Ya’an Bifengxia Base of the Giant Panda Conservation and Research Center in southwest Sichuan province. He is the brother of Tai Shan, Bao Bao, and Xiao Qi Ji.

Xiao Qi Ji Panda cub born at National Zoo, Washington, D.C.

Xiao Qi Ji is a male giant panda cub who was born at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. on 21 August 2020. The fourth surviving cub of Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, Xiao Qi Ji is a result of an artificial insemination of Mei Xiang on March 22, 2020. Xiao Qi Ji is the youngest brother of Tai Shan, Bao Bao and Bei Bei.

You You was a male giant panda born by artificial insemination in the Ueno Zoo in Japan. His parents are Fei Fei and Huan Huan.

References

  1. Barbara Durrant. "Meet Hua Mei's Son". San Diego Zoo . Retrieved December 16, 2011.
  2. "Taiwan rejects China's giant pandas". Independence Online. 2006-03-31. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
  3. "Taiwan rejects pandas from China amid political fears". China Post . 2008-01-09. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  4. 1 2 "Chinese pandas arrive in Taiwan". BBC News . 2008-12-23. Retrieved 2008-12-23.
  5. "In pictures: Pandas sent to Taiwan". BBC News. 2008-12-23. Retrieved 2008-12-23.
  6. "貓熊來台 屬「國內交易」 (pandas to Taiwan is an "internal transaction")". United Daily News. 2008-12-23. Archived from the original on 2008-12-25. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  7. Young, Doug (2008-12-26). "Taiwan pandamania crashes zoo website". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
  8. "Panda-mania grips Taiwan as Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan arrive". Sina Corp. 2008-12-24. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
  9. "Panda cub officially named Yuan Zai, gets citizen's card". Taipei Times. 27 October 2013.
  10. "Deer, goats as gifts from Taiwan arrive at Weihai".
  11. Liang Pei-chi; Chiang Yi-ching (29 June 2020). "Giant panda Yuan Yuan gives birth to second cub at Taipei Zoo". Central News Agency.