Two panda twins born in the United States but currently living in China, are experiencing somewhat of a culture shock as they struggle to adjust to the local food and Chinese language.
The three-year-old pandas, Mei Lun and Mei Huan, find it had to understand what is being communicated to them, specifically struggling to follow commands given to them in the local Sichuan dialect, and the two bears would much rather eat American crackers over Chinese bread. We’ve never tried Chinese bread, but American crackers are gooood, so we can totally see where they’re coming from.
The sisters were born at Atlanta zoo to their mother Lun Lun and father Yung Yung, and relocated to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in early November for a collaborative research programme. The two countries are under agreement that any pandas born to the breeding pair will be sent back to China before the age of four.
Mei Lun and Mei Huan clearly display different characteristics and personality traits – Mei Lun is lively and often jumps onto roofs and hangs from rails, whilst Mei Huan is a lot more tranquil and prefers to sit still and observe what is going on around her.
Luo Yunhong, a breeder at the panda base, explained that the main concern was that their love for American crackers is so insatiable, that everything – including bamboo and apples – has to be mixed with water and the crackers. Luo has slowly been replacing the crackers with Chinese bread in hopes that they’ll eventually acquire a taste for it.
When it comes to the Chinese language, the two pandas will respond to their names… and little else. They respond to basic American phrases such as “come here,” but it will take time for them to pick up Chinese, which isn’t an easy language to learn, even for humans.
According to Lou, the pandas are slowly but surely settling into their new lives.