Watch a mama panda meet her baby for the first time
The Taipei Zoo baby panda nicknamed Yuan Zai won the heart of the internet with this meme-ready photo:
Now the baby, who’s been reared by careful keepers, has been introduced to her mother Yuan Yuan for the first time since birth. Here’s video:
There was a good reason for the separation — baby pandas are incredibly vulnerable. They get sick easily, and are even in danger of being accidentally smothered by their much larger parents. With only 1,600 pandas left in the wild, zookeepers weren’t taking a chance.
But the reunion is clearly an emotional moment for Yuan Yuan, who immediately puts the baby’s head in her mouth, then scoops her into a bear hug (oh, THAT’S why they call it that!). One imagines that the experience is a little more ambivalent for Yuan Zai, since whatever panda emotions she might feel on first meeting her mother are tinged with having a giant animal close its jaws on her head.
She’ll be OK, though. She seems like a pretty relaxed baby overall.