National Geographic : 1993 Feb
EIRIILIII Newborn Panda inthe Wild TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY L U Z H I BEIJING UNIVERSITY ROFESSOR PAN WENSHI stood at my door in Beijing with a big smile on his face. "I have very good news," he declared, clutching a telegram. I guessed at once that Jiao Jiao, a nine year-old giant panda we had been tracking by radio collar, had given birth. A rare chance to observe a newborn panda in the wild! We rushed to buy train tickets to our research area in the mountains of southern Shaanxi Province. Within 48 hours Professor Pan and I were peering into the half light of the new mother's den. We saw Jiao Jiao-Double Charm. But where was her cub? I strained for a closer look, but carefully, remembering how fiercely Jiao Jiao had once attacked a female panda that had wandered into her range. I imitated the relaxed sighs of wild pandas. Jiao Jiao sniffed. Perhaps she remembered me and knew I meant no harm. I reached out to her (above). Then I heard a delicate sound, between a puppy's whimper and a foal's whinny. Jiao Jiao shifted, and the cub, pink and fragile, wriggled up mother's chest and disappeared behind a sheltering paw. About the size of a hamster, the cub was just 10 or 11 days old, yet distinctive markings showed through its baby fuzz (right). We called the cub Xi Wang Hope-because it offers hope for the future of pandas.