Language teacher to teach Chinese to giant panda

It sounds like a normal-enough story: a 3-year-old born to Chinese parents in America is brought back to China and so needs a Chinese teacher because she only understands English. The odd part? The ‘child’ is a giant panda.

Because of an agreement between China and several other countries, any pandas (and their offspring) sent out of China to foreign zoos are only on loan for study purposes, and must eventually return to their homeland.

Mei Lan, a panda born in Atlanta, Georgia, is due to move to a breeding centre in Sichuan province in China this week.  As part of her welcome and orientation, the centre is arranging for a Chinese language tutor to teach her some basic phrases, as she has only ever heard English.  She will be also be weaned off the biscuits she was used to in the US, and moved on to a Chinese recipe supplemented by fresh bamboo.

I’m not sure how fast pandas can learn commands, though.  If their general behaviour is anything to go by, it will be a slow process!

Source: LA Times.