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Xiong Bang, Eldest Brother of the Bang Family
 

  Born on December 17, 2001 at the Adventure World in Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan, Xiong Bang is the offspring of Meimei and Yongming that are living in Japan and is also the eldest son of the Bang family - the most successful returnee panda family bred overseas. On December 17th of that year, giant panda Meimei gave birth to twins. Unfortunately, one of the cubs was stillborn, and the other cub, Xiong Bang, successfully fed and survived under the watchful care of his mother Meimei, becoming the eldest brother of the Bang family. Giant pandas are primarily in heat in the spring and give birth in the summer or autumn, however Xiong Bang was in winter. This is also the first case of giant pandas naturally mating in autumn estrus in captivity, giving birth in winter, and their cubs surviving, which has set a precedent in the history of giant panda breeding.

 


“Hello everyone, I am Xiong Bang!”

 

Xiong Bang’s face is thin and angular, with a slightly long mouth, large and perky ears, and a relatively long body, which are Bang family traits - long hands and feet. Although Xiong Bang looks relatively thin, he is actually very strong, weighing up to 140kg, which is among the relatively heavier giant pandas in captivity.

 

 


“Look at that bicep!”

 

 

 

 


“I have a good appetite, and I am quite healthy!”

 

On July 21, 2004, Xiong Bang, two and a half years old, returned to his parent’s hometown Chengdu. He is the first giant panda to return from abroad at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Xiong Bang was such a milestone in Japan that when he came back to China, many Japanese saw him off, standing along the road from the Adventure World in Shirahama to the airport, and the media rushed to cover him. When he returned to Chengdu, he was warmly welcomed by many locals. After two months of observation in isolation  and acclimatization, the returnee officially integrated into the panda family at the base.

 

 


Xiong Bang marking up the playground

 

By 2008, Xiong Bang was a little more than six years old and an adult giant panda. He was about to be set up when he suddenly fell ill. Normally in good health and with a healthy appetite, he suddenly refused to eat and looked agitated. The base staff was quite worried about Xiong Bang. Veterinarians and experts used a series of means such as B-mode ultrasounds, CTs, X-rays to diagnose him, and finally confirmed that he was suffering from an intestinal obstruction. Finally, with a timely rescue thanks to experts and under the watchful care of the breeders, Xiong Bang was out of the woods and slowly began to recover. In April of that year, Xiong Bang and Maomao successfully mated and then welcomed their first child Damao in September.

 


Experts at the base examining Xiong Bang
(From the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding)

 


Xiong Bang mating with Maomao
(From the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding)

 

 Now 17, Xiong Bang has many children. He walks and strolls every day, and if it gets tired, he takes a nap on his perching shelf. In short, he is living a very comfortable life.

 


Taking a leisurely walk

 

 


Occasionally staring off

 


Eating bamboo shoots when hungry

 


Resting when tired

 

 Although Xiong Bang is relatively old, he still has a healthy appetite and can eat just as much as before, and he is still exceptionally healthy! We wish Papa Xiong Bang a long and healthy life!