Panda keeper is feeding the newborn with milk bottle. (XINHUA/Yuan Qiuyue)
By Wu Kai, panda keeper at the Bifengxia base of China conservation and research center for the giant panda
Susan gave birth to a pair of panda cubs earlier this year. Like many new mothers, she needs help with the childcare. So I take one of the cubs off her paws in turns so that she can concentrate on the other.
Feeding, cleaning, observing temperature, adjusting sleeping postures... I even help the cubs defecate before feeding them milk. I use wet cotton balls to pat around their bottoms in a mild tempo. Then I warm the breast milk taken from their mother. Cubs older than 1 month old can drink formula milk instead.
Then I rinse their mouths before the impatient cubs can finally enjoy their milk. Then, I pat their backs and comb their hair as their mother would do.
Normally, I can take a rest when they rest. But Susan' s children don't seem to like nap time. I stroke them to calm them down as their mother would. Hopefully they will sleep soon.