KUALA LUMPUR – Having care for 26-month-old female panda cub Nuan Nuan since her birth at the Giant Panda Conservation Centre (GPCC) here, zoo keeper Ahmad Nizam Zainuddin will be saying ‘good bye’ to his charge with a heavy heart.
Nuan Nuan’s cute, adorable and disciplined traits will be most remembered by Ahmad Nizam, 34, and other six zoo keepers at the GPCC of Zoo Negara when the panda cub returns to China on November 14.
“Good bye Nuan Nuan, take care and be good in your new place there.
“From the size of my palm at her birth and until she is 26 months old today, Nuan Nuan is like my own child because almost daily we spend time with her besides taking care of her parents (giant pandas Xing Xing and Liang Liang) at GPCC,” said Ahmad Nizam, who is also GPCC supervisor, told Bernama.
Sharing his experience of taking care of Nuan Nuan, whom he also described as “agile, active and spoiled,” Ahmad Nizam said her favourite food is panda cake made from fruits and eggs.
“If Nuan Nuan wants to go anywhere or after undergoing a health check, we will give the panda cub her favourite food as a ‘reward’ for being disciplined and obeying our instructions.
“Nuan Nuan is also special because she can understand instructions in Malay, Mandarin and English as we always speak in Malay and English while another GPCC personnel from China speaks Mandarin with her,” he said.
Another GPCC zoo keeper Syaza Syazwan Rusli said the experience of keeping the panda cub was very special and unique for him as it tested his patience and nurtured a caring nature due to its uncertain mood and would act aggressively when it felt threatened.
“When given the task of taking care of the giant panda pair Xing Xing and Liang Liang and their offspring, Nuan Nuan, I was very excited and, at the same time, quite worried because the care of pandas is not the same as taking care of other animals,” he said.
“Foster mother” to the giant panda, volunteer Chin Chet Mooi expressed sadness that Nuan Nuan would be returning to China and was touched when Liang Liang showed her maternal love and was protective towards her newborn cub after its birth at the GPCC exhibition grounds.
“But after 26 months, I cannot believe that the 82-kg panda was a pink cub in Liang Liang’s lap and will soon return to her place of origin,” she said.
Nuan Nuan, which means warmth, was born on Aug 18, 2015 to a pair of giant pandas, Xing Xing and Liang Liang, and will be returned to Dujiangyan Panda Base in Sichuan, China.
The move is in compliance with the Malaysia-China Giant Panda International Conservation Agreement whereby any panda cub born in Malaysia is to be returned to China upon the age of two. – BERNAMA