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The Legendary Life of the 30‐year‐old Granny Bing Bing
Date: 2017-10-31

“Great-grandmother Bing Bing! Bing Bing! Aunt Bing! Granny Bing Bing!” On the peaceful morning of Aug. 6, 2016, at the call of the panda keepers, Bing Bingslowly woke up from the dream and sat on the bamboo bed specially prepared for her. The panda keeper said, in this way, Bing Bingcan effortlessly eat food by lying. With so much concern, the keeper seemed to talk about a kid he took care of for years.

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Bing Bingwondered, “Hmm? Why the keepers called me in so many different nicknames today?”

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Among the nicknames for Bing Bing, her favorite is “Taipo Bing Bing” in Sichuan dialect, which means grandma.

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As long as she hears this name, she will soon turn around to see who is calling her.

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The female panda keeper smiled and said, “You know you are a Taipo? Today is your birthday and we have prepared a special gift for you.”

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Then, a male panda keeper came out with the gift.

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The “ice cake” prepared by panda keepers forBing Bing, the birthdaygirl(granny)

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The male panda keeper told the writer, Bing Bingis old, so we make a birthday cake for her, hoping that she could enjoy health and longevity. There are a few pieces of apple in the cake and the three bamboo leaves represent that Bing Bingis 30 years old! The apple and a small amount of honey in the cake is the recipe after consulting the panda diet expert.” He showed a happy smile, warm and hearty.

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The male panda keeper gently put the “ice cake” in the enclosure and Bing Bingslowly came over. Everyone presented their greeting together, “Taipo BingBing”, happy birthday and wish you health”. After the end of the small birthday ceremony, Bing Bingimmediately enjoyed her cake.

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Bing Bingenjoying the "ice cake"

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Watching her, the author recalled the memory 30 years ago.

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On Aug. 6, 1986, Chengdu Zoo greeted a new baby who made some buzzes that day. Because of the hot weather, the zoo staffs put a lot of ice in the enclosure to lower the temperature, and Bing Bing got her name therefore.

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Bing Binghas a bumpy life, but she was as strong as the hard ice every time facing the hardships.

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One month after birth, the mother GuoGuoof Bing Bing was sick and unable to raise her any longer. The panda keepers had to raise her by artificially. But the panda breeding technology was relatively backward at that time and breastfeeding was quite important for panda, it was incredible that little Bing Bingcan survive by only relying on artificial milk. Even now, the survival rate of baby panda only with one-month’s breastfeeding is very low. Perhaps the God showed mercy to Bing Bing, as the only child of GuoGuo’s family, or she benefited from the good gene from her parents from the wild field. The little Bing Bing survived and conquered the first obstacle in her life.

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Under the careful care of panda keepers, BingBing gradually grew up. However, the short breastfeeding made her small in size and slow in growth.

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In 1987, the infectious hemorrhagic enteritis invaded the Chengdu giant panda population. Bing Bingwas infected at the age of 2 in 1988, too. Fortunately, she was attacked much later than other pandas. Through the rescue of pandas with early infecting, experts developed the symptomatic drug and saved her life. Her recovery is a great event in the history of Chengdu giant panda population, marking the disease finally captured.

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Bing Bing entered the breeding period from 1992. Till 2007, she gave birth to over a dozen of pandas, but only six survived. Because of her poor physical health, some babies were born dead, some died soon due to dysplasia. However, the six surviving babies are very famous. They are Jiao Zi, LunLun, Bing Xing, Bing Dian, Yuan Yuan and Xiang Bing who have visited all over the world. Her grandchildren Mei Lan, Yuan Zi and Sa are also panda stars. Carrying her gene of beauty, Jiao Zi and LunLun are now grandmas, too, which means that Bing Bing has four generations under her.

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The 27-year-old Bing Bing

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Granny Bing Bing has a cheerful character and likes to be close to people. Occasionally she would stick out her tongue like a child.

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The 28-year-old Bing Bing with canines almost off

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Bing Bing at her 30th birthday, rotating the ice cake like a child

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In the autumn of 2008, Bing Bing retired from the breeding line and is currently enjoying her rest life in Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. We wish her, the great contributor to giant panda breeding, health and longevity!

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Special Note:
Taipo (grandma) is a term used in Chengdu dialect which has different meanings with the context and tone. It is a nickname given by the panda keepers for Bing Bing.

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Some academic papers made an age comparison between panda and human. According to the proportion of 1:3, 1 year in the panda world is equal to 3 years of human beings. In this way, Bing Bing is a 90-year-old granny. The average life span of captive giant panda is 25-30. The world’s oldest panda is JiaJia living in Hong Kong Ocean Park, who had her 38th birthday on Aug. 8, 2016 but left us then. This year Bing Bing is already 31-year-old, and we hope she could continue to be so healthy and lively.

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