TAIPEI, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- It has been a popular routine during the Spring Festival, or Chinese New Year, for many people in Taiwan to visit the Taipei Zoo and say "Happy New Year" to pandas there.
Six-year-old Li Chia-i and her little brother elbowed through a large crowd to stand in front of the glass window in the panda house at the zoo, waving excitedly to Yuanbao, a two-and-half-year-old female panda and the second panda cub born in Taiwan.
In the indoor exhibition hall, the black-and-white chubby animal sometimes sat and sometimes stood up. At times she seemed to respond to the attention of her audience and her cute movements always triggered cheers and laughs from the crowd.
"Yuanbao grows up a little bit and so do I," Li said. "In the new year I will drink more milk and eat more vegetables to grow faster."
In the outdoor section of the panda house, Yuanbao's elder sister Yuanzai was taking a nap under a tree, and from time to time she covered her eyes with her paw to shield them from the bright sunshine.
"It is good luck for us that two of them are both out to meet visitors," said Li's father. The family drove from Taichung in the central part of the island to Taipei to visit the pandas.
"Although traffic was a bit heavy, my children were very excited and all the way they were discussing and planning the best composition of the photos they intended to take with the pandas," the father said.
Yuanbao and Yuanzai are daughters of Yuan Yuan and Tuan Tuan, the panda pair who arrived in Taipei as a goodwill gift from the Chinese mainland in 2008. The male panda Tuan Tuan died of illness in November last year.
"I have worried about the rest of the family after Tuan Tuan's death. Now seeing the two little ones seemingly playful and happy, I am greatly relieved," said a visitor surnamed Chung, who arrived at the zoo early in the morning to take photos of the panda family.
The zoo has set a schedule for the three pandas. They will take shifts to meet visitors during the Spring Festival holiday.
The mother Yuan Yuan is currently suffering with some minor discomforts and is under proper care and close monitoring. The zoo will schedule her to meet visitors once she recovers, the zoo's press department said.
"In the new year I will continue taking photos of the panda family and I hope to visit Mei Ling, the twin brother of Tuan Tuan, as soon as possible in Nanchang in east China's Jiangxi Province," Chung said. ■