Chai-Chai the giant panda at London's Regents Park Zoo, has been re-introduced to the female panda Ching-Ching.
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM (VISNEWS - RORY MCLEOD)
CU PULL BACK TO SV Panda in snow eating bamboo shoots joined by other panda
SV Father Christmas with children waving at pandas
GV Pandas in cage
SV Pandas sitting eating bamboo shoots
CU PULL BACK Pandas eating
GV Pandas in snow
CU Panda eating
Background: Chai-Chai the giant panda at London's Regents Park Zoo, has been re-introduced to the female panda Ching-Ching. Officials at the zoo are hoping they will produce an offspring after they have got to know each other again. Chai-Chai has recently been to the United States in an attempt to impregnate the giant panda at Washington Zoo. He was, however, unsuccessful, and has been in quarantine since his return to England nine months ago.
SYNOPSIS: Ching-Ching failed to become a mother after artificial insemination and recently had a phantom pregnancy which had deceived most of her keepers. Only one panda has been bred in captivity - in Mexico City zoo - and zoologists are worried about dwindling numbers. A seasonal visitor was on hand to wish them well.
Snow covered Regents Parks Zoo was a familiar setting for Ching-Ching and Chai-Chai, who come from mountainous regions in China. Only about one thousands pandas still survive in China with a mere thirteen other pandas in captivity. Very little is known of their mode life and only recently have Chinese scientists attempt to find out more in an effort to preserve the species. They have attached radio collars to pandas in the wild to track their movements and habits.
One serious reason for the panda's dying in large numbers in their natural habitat was the disappearance of Arrow Bamboo, which dies out every sixty year. Scientist in China have developed a new bamboo, which the pandas - notoriously finicky eaters - appear to enjoy. Much hope lies with the new bamboo helping ta save pandas from extinction. Ching-Ching and Chai-Chai showed they had keen appetites for their staple diet.