June 18, 2024

Malaysia’s panda caretaker reunites with ‘princesses’ on trip to China


KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 — Brimming with joy, Malaysian panda caretaker Akmal Hadi Samsuddin reunited with Nuan Nuan, the female panda cub he helped raise in Malaysia before her return to China in November 2017, after years of separation.

He travelled all the way from Kuala Lumpur to Nanjing Ziqing Lake Wildlife World in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, on April 25, where Nuan Nuan currently lives.

Nuan Nuan, is the firstborn cub of pandas Xing Xing and Liang Liang, who arrived in Malaysia in 2014, and grew up under the tender care of Akmal in Zoo Negara.

Nuan Nuan held a special place in Akmal’s heart and was dubbed his “princess”.

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During their reunion, Akmal was seen happily taking photos and videos of his princess. He even brought along Nuan Nuan’s favourite panda toy — a heartwarming reminder of their special bond.

Malaysian panda caretaker Akmal Hadi Samsuddin travelled all the way from Kuala Lumpur to Nanjing Ziqing Lake Wildlife World in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, on April 25, where Nuan Nuan currently lives. — Picture via Facebook/Akmal Hadi Samsuddin

The videos and photos of their encounter at Nanjing Ziqing Lake Wildlife World flooded the social media.

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Akmal also travelled to north-west of Chengdu to Sichuan’s Wolong China Giant Panda Garden, also known as the Shenshuping giant panda base, to visit another “princess” — Sheng Yi — on April 27.

Sheng Yi, born on May 31, 2021, and her elder sister, Yi Yi, born on January 14, 2018, returned to China last August.

Akmal could not meet Yi Yi as she had not yet joined the public exhibit since her return.

Though their encounter was missed, Akmal looked forward to a future visit and the chance to reconnect with Yi Yi.

Akmal, in his Facebook posting, said he was relieved to finally reunite with the pandas.

“Indeed, I am very grateful to be able to set foot in the country of the Great Wall to meet and get rid of my longing for my beloved panda cubs.

“It is not my wish to come here for Nuan Nuan, Yi Yi and Sheng Yi to remember me as their guardian since birth and come to me when called. Although I know from the look in their eyes, we are still a family.

“It’s enough that I can see their current condition which is very good and they are placed in a very comfortable area and receive good and perfect care from the guardians who love them as we love Nuan Nuan, Yi Yi and Sheng Yi.

“It is a great hope that I bring from Malaysia to China to strengthen the family relationship between us Malaysian panda keepers and Chinese panda keepers who have the same goals and objectives.

“Thank you so much to all the panda fans who have been very kind to us throughout our stay in China,” he wrote.

While at the Wolong National Nature Reserve, Akmal also met with the panda caretaker there and talked about the daily routine of Sheng Yi. — Bernama



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