One-and-half-year-old panda cub Yuan Zai will take her first steps towards independence by the end of this month, as keepers at the Taipei Zoo in China’s Taiwan plan to separate her from her mother.
The young panda is at roughly the same developmental stage as a human child of around four or five years, according to the zoo. Yuan Zai is expected to start eating solid food soon as her teeth develop.
Although the mother and child have formed a strong relationship with each other, the presence of the cub will hinder her mother from entering another reproductive cycle.
“Feeding and parenting baby, including secreting milk, will impact Yuan Yuan’s hormone, and makes it hard for her to enter the reproduction cycle,” said Eric Tsao, a spokesman of the zoo.
Yuan Yuan, the mother, is expected to try for another baby in February and March, and it is time for her daughter to start living on her own.
As the first panda cub born in Taiwan, Yuan Zai sparked a wave of panda-mania across Taipei when she was born in 2013.