15 September 1992 – 15 August 1997
Mother : Yong Yong
Father : Liang Liang
Habitat : Beijing Zoo
Yongliang only lived for five years. Perhaps people don’t find it familiar when hearing his name, yet the twin brother of Yongliang is very famous, and that is Yongming, living in Adventure World in Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan.
However, our protagonist of the day is Yongliang, the first giant panda that is entirely artificially nurtured in the world.
The oldest family of captive giant pandas live in the Beijing Zoo, they’re from the Sichuan wilderness (Dudu, male) and (Fangfang, female), who are the ancestors of this family. In 1974, Dudu and Fangfang gave birth to Daidai, female. In 1986, Daidai and Lele, which was also from the wild, gave birth to Liangliang. And Liangliang was the father of Yongliang. Its mother Yongyong was from the wild too.
The outstanding genes from several generations of ancestors gave Yongliang a very strong life, and with the constant care of the keepers, Yongliang was given the opportunity to survive.
In the middle of the night of September 14, 1992, Yongyong gave birth to the brother of the twins, Yongming.
In the early morning of the next day, another brother of the twins, Yongliang was born. With two cubs, the mother Yongyong chose the big brother Yongming. She picked the cub up with her mouth and licked it carefully in her arms.
Yongliang was abandoned by Yongyong. He was constantly struggling and calling on the ground, yet his mother wouldn’t react.
After a few minutes, the breeder Mr. Liu Zhigang picked up Yongliang and put him into the nursery box that had already been prepared in advance.
Yongliang thus grew up in an artificial environment.
Afterward, the breeder, Liu Zhigang said,
“Yong Liang was abandoned by his mother 2 minutes after his birth, which gave us a false alarm. When Yongyong took the baby, her body moved a little, and at this moment, she almost pressed against the cub. If she bumped into it a little, the cub would possibly lose his life.”
At birth, Yongliang was a healthy baby: “it weighted 150g, with its body length as 18cm, its tail was 6cm long.”
For panda cubs, the mother’s colostrum is extremely important.
“Panda cubs are born with a very poor immune system. They rely on the immune components in breast milk to gradually establish its own immunity. In order to increase the immunity of the panda cubs who do not have the opportunity to drink their mothers’ colostrum, an artificial feeding method could help improving their immunity as well.
Scientists and technicians have analyzed the milk of giant pandas and they have configured the artificial colostrum according to the ingredients in the breast milk. From the situation of the growth and development of panda cubs, the composition of the artificial colostrum is basically reliable.”
Compared with his brother Yongming, Yongliang was even more pampered. Fortunately, there were many “Daddies” to take care of the cub, and the health of Yongliang was not weaker than that of Yongming.
When it comes to intelligence, Yongliang was not weak either!
Mr. Liu Zhigang told us, “Yongliang is intelligent and very benevolent.”
“During one of my night shifts, when I approached Yongliang’s room, I was completely shocked by what I saw and my mind went blank. The room was open and Yongliang was missing. I was so anxious that I changed into my work clothes at once and started looking for Yongliang. The nursery room had a total of 10 rooms, and there were several outdoor sports fields connected.
The room of Yongliang was in the innermost part of the nursery. I looked for Yongliang in each room, and when I arrived the room that’s the nearest to the outside, I heard some “sa sa” sound from the sports field. I immediately ran forward and looked. And my worries instantly faded away with what I’d seen. I saw that Yongliang was eating leaves on the ground, and I couldn’t help but burst into laughter when I saw his relaxing look. I told him, ‘little guy, you made me so desperate!’ Then, I checked each room again and saw that everything stayed in its original position…it’s not that Yongliang didn’t pass by these rooms, but he didn’t make any damages at all. If it happened to other pandas, I’m quite sure most of the things would have been destroyed already. You can see how kind and civilized Yongliang was:”
Then, how did this “prison break” happen?
The answer is this –
“That day, I happened to be outside the room of Yongliang. I suddenly heard the doorknob of his room. Then, I looked up and saw that Yongliang was standing up straight, and he was biting and twisting the doorknob. I didn’t quite get what he was doing, but before I realized it, he already opened the door and was ready to run outside. I hurried to stop him. I suddenly realized that the cubs had learnt what the breeders were doing daily – turning the doorknob and going outside. Since the doorknob was broken, I had to install a bolt outside the door and the issue was solved.”
Yongliang: see how smart I am!
Since Yongliang had been raised by his breeders, he’s very close to them. When he became an adult panda, he still wouldn’t attack his breeders. And he was always cooperative for body checks and vaccinations. Yongliang even sometimes demanded to be fed by his breeders.
Unfortunately, Yongliang passed away one month before he turned five years old.
Without breast milk, Yongliang was congenitally deficient. He had deficiencies in his immunity and his bodily conditions became worse. In the end, he had to return to Heaven…
For the twin brothers, Yongliang left the world pretty early, and his brother Yongliang has lived in Wakayama, Japan since 1994, giving birth to the famous , Yongliang left the world early, and his brother Yongming has lived in Japan’s Wakayama since 1994, and has given birth to the famous “Bing” family. Despite the different fates of the two brothers, they marked a miracle of life.
The survival of Yongliang is a milestone, representing the tenacity of life, while Yongming is the symbol of the continuation of life. He has been the oldest panda father who naturally mates.
Although the researchers still have not found the secret of breast milk of giant pandas, and newborn cubs still highly depend on their mothers’ milk, Yongliang has given us hope in this regard.