Heartwarming Reunion: South Korean Zookeeper Reunites with Beloved Panda ‘Grandchild’ in China

Source: SAYS

Last week, South Korean zookeeper Kang Cheol-won had a touching reunion with his ‘granddaughter,’ Fu Bao the panda, after three months apart.

Everland, a South Korean theme park, announced in a press release that Kang visited Fu Bao at the Shenshuping Panda Base in Wolong, China, on July 4 and 5. During his visit, Kang toured Fu Bao’s enclosure and called out to her, and she recognized his voice, approaching him immediately.

This heartwarming reunion follows Fu Bao’s return to China from South Korea in April, as part of an agreement between the two countries. Fu Bao is the first offspring of Ai Bao and Le Bao, giant pandas gifted to South Korea by Chinese President Xi Jinping in March 2016 as a symbol of friendship.

Born in July 2020, Fu Bao was the first giant panda born in South Korea and lived at Everland’s Panda World for 1,354 days. According to the agreement, while the adult pandas stay in South Korea until 2030, all panda cubs must be returned to China before they turn four years old.

Kang, often affectionately called Fu Bao’s ‘grandfather,’ was one of the dedicated zookeepers who took care of her. Fu Bao became a celebrity in South Korea, with around 5.5 million people visiting the park to see her. Videos of Kang and Fu Bao on Everland’s YouTube channel have collectively garnered over 500 million views.

Thousands of fans gathered in the rain to bid farewell to Fu Bao before her departure to China in April. Kang accompanied her to the Shenshuping Panda Base in Sichuan Province but had to return to South Korea earlier than planned due to his mother’s passing.

After two months of quarantine and adaptation, Fu Bao was introduced to the public in an outdoor enclosure in June. During his visit, Kang expressed relief and pride in seeing Fu Bao’s new environment and her well-being. “I am proud to see her adapting well, and I believe Fu Bao is doing great. I want to visit Fu Bao again whenever I have the chance,” he said.

Everland announced that a video of Kang and Fu Bao’s reunion will be released on their YouTube channel soon.


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