One article in the Independent of Ireland and The Times today will have been sure to get dog lovers cooing and aahing, as they published pictures of a mongrel dog adopting two red panda cubs in northern China.
The two little pandas were abandoned by their mother at birth, and it was a surprise to everybody as reportedly no-one at Tautyuan Zoo knew she was pregnant. Usually, a panda will start to nest before she gives birth, but this panda gave birth in front of visitors on the 25th June. The panda was apparently so disturbed she refused to pay any attention to the two little cubs.
Ha Guojiang, a zoo employee, said: “No one knew she was pregnant. Her plump body and bushy hair disguised her protruding belly. We hurriedly went about to find a wet nurse for them.”
Zoo staff selected the small white mongrel dog from three lactating bitches. The dog belongs to a farmer who lives close by. However, although the adoption has been received fantastically by the mongrel dog and the two red pandas, sadly it has meant the mother dog has rejected her own little puppy, who is having to be hand nursed with milk by the zoo.
Mr Ha said: “The mother dog thinks the two bears are its own babies and refuses to nurse the pup.”
The endangered three week old panda cubs have grown to 20 centimetres and have already begun to show their tails that will grow to the length of their own bodies in time.
Panda cubs normally remain in the home for around 90 days and stay with mum until the following mating season so time will tell if the dog will show as much patience.
It seems none of the reports give the name of the mongrel dog and although it is a shame her puppy is being hand reared, at least two more of an endangered species seem to be being safely reared.
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