A Moment of Leisure—“the Sisters with Big Faces” in Giant Panda Valley
Date: 2018-01-08

If you want to know since when giant pandas became “instant online celebrities”, those giant pandas born in 2012 could tell you because they are the very group of online stars themselves. As the ipanda started to broadcast in August 2012, those cubs of giant pandas born in the same year drew great attention from all over the world. When people become well informed of giant pandas, they also get to know the hidden side of those cubs through their amusing expressions and stories. Some super fans of giant pandas are of course very familiar with those 7 cubs born in Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding (CRBGPB) at that time; however, those giant pandas have been out of sight for five years. We wonder how they are doing now. To get the answers, I went to Chengdu Field Research Center for Giant Pandas, part of the CRBGPB, on a sunny day in the winter to visit the two giant panda sisters Yuan Run and Miao Miaoborn in 2012. 


Yuan Run and Miao Miao, the half-sisters, are currently living with their half-brother Oreoin the “Panda Valley”of Dujiangyan, far from the madding crowd. The two sisters are alike in many ways, but they are still easy to be distinguished by their appearance and their distinctive characters.


Yuan Run is the elder sister, born on August 25, 2012. Her mother is Yuan Yuan who is the daughter of the giant panda Kobe. According to the official document, Yuan Runhas been strong-minded since her childhoodand she is always messy, so she is regarded as a tough girl. Yuan Run is a real foodie. When the three brother and sisters receive training outside, Yuan Run is always the fastest and most active one to get food. Yuan Run has long and unkempt hair, and her hair is browner, so some fans of giant pandas call her “Blast Run”.


Yuan Run with a round face, also the sister of Yuan Yueand Yuan Manborn in 2016


Her messy hair distinguishes her from her elder brother and younger sister


Miao Miaois the youngerone, born on September 4, 2012, the daughter of Jiao Zi. She is younger, but she is bigger than her elder sister Yuan Run. Her hair is neat and thick like her brother Oreo’s. She is pretty and gentle, so she is called “Princess Miao”. However, as she grows up, she becomes lazy. She holds the belief that “if I can sit, I never stand up; if I can lie down, I never sit; and if I can sleep, I never let my eyes open.”


Pretty and lazyMiao Miao


"Miao Miao", "When I can lie down and eat, why would I sit?"


Although the two sisters are different in character, they are very close to each other. When their brother Oreo walks in the yard, they are huddling together on the wooden support to sleep next to each other—on the day that I came to visit them, they were exactly doing so: at the beginning, they hugged each other face to face, as if they just finished a pillow talk. Yuan Run wokein the middle of her sleep, but before she could sit upright, she was dragged down by Miao Miao to lie down again. The two girls constantly changed their sleeping postures, but no matter what they always huddled together under the golden sunlight.


We huddle together even when we are sleeping!


She seems to smell the bambooin her dream…


By the dessert time at noon, when hearing the calling of the keeper, Yuan Run, the chowhound, sprang up in a crack and moved towards the apples. While Miao Miao, without the warm body of Yuan Run close to her, felt the coldness at once. She was unwilling to open her eyes, wondering whether to choose a sweet dream or the nice food.Knowing that Yuan Run and Oreo had had the apple, Miao Miao couldno longerresist the temptation of the food, and moved over slowly to the keeper. But she seemed to lose her last bit of energy when she walked near the support; she juststretched out her head to wait for the apple to be placed in her mouth.


Yuan Run, “It’s time to eat!”


Right now, Yuan Run had already had its apples, slavering at the food supposed to be placed in the mouth of Miao Miao. On seeing this, the keeper instantly gave Yuan Runa steamed corn bread. However, Yuan Run was still unsatisfiedafter having her own food, so she intended to look for some remnants. Unluckily, the other two had known what was in Yuan Run’s mind, so they placed the remaining food in their mouths in a hurry. But Yuan Run was so excited that she rushed to lick the crumbs falling from Miao Miao. She did not want even a little bit food to be wasted.


Yuan Run (on the right),“Brother, do you have anything left?”


Yuan Run (on the left),“Don’t dodge. I’m eating the rice grains on the corner of your mouth.”


By the afternoon snacks time, the three pandas next to one another were totally enjoying eating. Yuan Run acted like a big fan of her sister. Where her sister went, she went. Miao Miao also enjoyed her sister’s company. She lay on the ground pleasantly, with her round belly exposed, grabbing the fresh bamboo leaves to eat.


Miao Miao,“A wonderful life for a panda is to eat and sleep.”


Miao Miao (in the middle),“And to eat and sleep with my sister.”


I wish Miao Miao and Yuan Run a good life and a long-lasting friendship with each other.





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