Qian Qian was one of the first two giant pandas selected for our panda research and reintroduction program. This week she turned three years old.
The first time I met her was in March 2014, a few days after I arrived in China. As I entered the cub enclosure at Moonlight House, I saw her playing with seven other cubs. At first, they were almost impossible to distinguish from one another, but after a few days, differences in their personalities became clear. Some cubs had little interest in interacting with me and others played too hard. Ouch! Even at only 6 months of age a panda can give a nasty bite.
It quickly became clear to me that Qian Qian was different. She was interested in me, often engaged in play with me and the other cubs, but wouldn’t bite me too hard. Unlike the other cubs, and all others I have interacted with since, she would also become affectionate, and would climb into my lap to fall asleep. Choosing her for the program was a great decision. Working with her and seeing her grow over the past 2 and a half years has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
Happy Birthday Qian Qian!