In order to keep a tiny panda cub alive, keepers at Wolong Giant Panda Protection Research Center in China have swapped the tiny baby with a stronger baby panda born to another Panda at the centre.
Su Lin was born at the San Diego Zoo in 2005 and was brought back to China in 2010. She became a mother on 7th July. However owing to the size of the cub, she found it difficult to hold the baby.
Giant Panada cubs are pink, blind and toothless when they are born. They also weigh between 100-130 gms which is 1/800th the weight of an adult panda.
When the keepers in the centre found that Su Lin was continually dropping the baby, causing it to have bruises, they made the decision to intervene.
The baby was sent to the nursing room where it is being artificially fed. But because Su Lin is a lactating mother, the keepers also decided to give her a strong and healthier baby to feed and prevent her from losing her milk.
Another Panda in the centre Xi Xi, gave birth to twins on 8th July. Her male cub was strong and the researchers observed that he had strong ability to find breast milk. They then decided to allow Su Lin to feed this baby cub. Because pandas recognize their babies by scent the staff at the center had to apply some of Su Lin’s baby’s feces to the other infant’s anus.
As Giant Pandas can only feed one baby when twins are born in the wild, the mother usually chooses the stronger of the two.
In the centre therefore, the three babies are now all safe and well with two nursing mothers and one artificially fed.