One of the ‘must do’s ‘ that my wife had on her list when we were in Hong Kong was to visit the Pandas that are in the Ocean Park Amusement Center. It was the first time that either one of us had ever seen Pandas ‘live’ and it was worth every minute that we spent looking at them. In fact, we spent well over an hour appreciating the beauty of these animals. However we could not help but feel saddened at the fact of just how rare and endangered these beautiful animals are. Fortunately there are a few select zoos and parks that are doing everything that they can to help restore the Panda population. Ocean Park is one of these facilities, and from our time there, we could clearly see the passion that the Panda keepers have towards their furry guests.
The facility itself is a covered atrium that lets in plenty of daylight. The Pandas have a large area to roam and forage and is full of shelter, trees and brush. It even has a pond system stocked with Koi and Carp. My wife and I are both ‘animal lovers’ and definitely had a strong feeling about just how well the bears are cared for and looked after. Sometimes when you look at an animal long enough, you can tell whether or not they’re happy. And in this case we had no doubts.
The Pandas were a gift from China in 2007 to mark the 10th Anniversary of Britain’s handover of Hong Kong back to Chinese rule. The male named Le Le, and female named Ying Ying made their public debut on July 1, 2007.
In addition to these Panda’s the park is also home to a pair of Red Pandas that look nothing like what you would expect when you think of Panda Bears. In fact they are extremely small, and reminded me more of a fox or similar critter.
During our visit, Le Le was resting and was barely visible, however Ying Ying proved to be quite the entertainer and definitely knew how to perform for her visitors. Hopefully these photos relay just how content the Pandas are and how well they are cared for. With only one region in China remaining where Pandas exist in the wild, facilities like Ocean Park are critical if this species is going to be saved.
If you ever find yourself in Hong Kong, I would recommend that a visit to Ocean Park be high on your list. In addition to the Pandas the park is full of a wonderful mix of rides, amusements and animal attractions such as an aviary and aquarium. Unfortunately we were pressed for time and focused most of our time on the Pandas. It will definitely be on our list to visit again when we return to Hong Kong!
When you first enter the exhibit, a sign introduces you the Pandas:
Le Le (the Male) decided it was time better spent to sleep instead of entertain his guests!
Ying Ying on the other hand was just waking up from her nap and would soon start to seek out lunch….
Once she discovered her Bamboo, she settled in against the glass and began enjoy lunch….
I was in the right place at the right time and was able to capture this video of Ying Ying munching away (the video is taken through a glass panel so you’ll see some minor reflection)…..
After a few minutes Ying Ying decided to relocate to a more comfortable position and continued with lunch….
Soon after, she went back to her favorite boulder to enjoy a post-lunch nap……
As I mentioned earlier, the Panda exhibit also had a few Red Panda that roamed in their own separate area apart from the Giant Pandas. The critters were a little bit more active and would chase each other around and stop only when their handler came to feed them.
Introducing you to the Red Pandas:
The critters knew that it was feeding time when their handler approached:
Mesmerized by a plastic stick….
Settling in after lunch…..