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See You Again, Our Precious Friend Fu Bao
  • By Yoon Hye-won, cub-reporter
  • 승인 2024.03.17 23:58
  • 호수 329
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▲ On the 3rd, keeper Kang Cheol-won presented rape flowers and carrots to Fu Bao (Source: Kyunghyang news)

Fu Bao, who has received much love from many people over the last three years, is returning to China. Fu Bao, who has been residing at Everland Panda World in Yongin, Gyeonggi- do Province, met regular spectators for the last time on March 3rd. After completing quarantine management and training preparations in the internal stability of Panda World for a month, Fu Bao is supposed to return to China in early April. The panda, which is globally endangered, must go back to China before the age of four according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). She is the first panda born through natural breeding in Korea and was born by the pandas sent by President Xi Jinping of China, as a symbol of Korea and China amity, named, ‘Lu Bao,’ and ‘Ai Bao,’ in March 2016. Born during the COVID- 19 outbreak, she quickly became known through online platforms when outdoor activities were restricted; capturing the attention of the public. Her birth itself became a significant moment, and her harmless and adorable daily life such as eating bamboo and playing with the keeper, brought smiles to many people.

Fu Bao was born on July 20, 2020, and began meeting visitors for the first time on January 4, 2021. The word ‘Bao’ in the names of Lu Bao, Ai Bao, Fu Bao is represented as 寶 and 宝 in simplified Chinese, meaning ‘precious’ and ‘treasure.’ The name Ai Bao (愛寶), which belongs to her mother, means, ‘treasure that gives love’, the name Lu Bao (樂寶), which belongs to her father, means, ‘treasure that brings joy’, and the name Fu Bao (福寶) means, ‘treasure that brings happiness.’ As for the meaning of Fu Bao’s name, citizens collectively stated that every moment spent with Fu Bao was filled with happiness. Fu Bao’s enthusiast, known as ‘Pooduck,’ Baek Song- yi (31) mentioned, “Last fall, while commuting, feeling stressed from work, I happened to see a video of Fu Bao. Watching Fu Bao eating bamboo makes worries disappear.” Also, Ahn Yu- joo (21) stated, “When I was recovering from surgery and feeling weak physically during the end of the semester, seeing Fu Bao provided great relief.” To the point where the stories of finding healing and solace just by watching Fu Bao are abundant, her presence has provided consolation and touched many people.

Before going to China, it was crowded at the entrance of Everland as people gathered to catch a last glimpse of her on her last day, the 3rd. With expressions of sadness, people said farewell, and some even shed tears. Kang Cheol- won, the keeper at Everland known as Grandpa Fu Bao, couldn’t hide his sadness as he faced the imminent farewell. He stated, “This morning (on the 3rd), I said to Fu Bao, ‘Let’s express gratitude for all the love she has received over the years.’” Also, in the interview on that day, he mentioned, “I can meet Fu Bao continuously in the quarantine facility, but for the general public including Fu Bao’s fans, today is the last day they can see her. Many fans have been raising Fu Bao together with me, so I’m worried they’ll feel a great sense of loss if they can’t see her from now on.”

Despite the worries and the void left by Fu Bao’s departure, there is some glad news. Even as Fu Bao returns to China, there will be further continued opportunities to meet her through videos. Everland has signed a business agreement (MOU) with the Chinese national broadcaster CCTV, and discussions are underway to continue showcasing Fu Bao’s appearance through the YouTube channel, ‘iPanda.’ Keeper Kang expressed his sadness about saying goodbye to Fu Bao, but he was sure that Fu Bao will feel greater happiness in an environment where giant pandas can utilize their natural habitats. It is anticipated that Fu Bao, who has received much love and interest from the public since birth, will carry those memories in her heart and move forward with vigor.

By Yoon Hye-won, cub-reporter  flipp1005@naver.com

<저작권자 © The Campus Journal, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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