Giant panda Sijia watches TV at Yunnan Wild Animals Park in Kunming of southwest China's Yunnan province on April 14, 2014. [Photo: China News Service / Liu Ranyang]
Sijia, a giant panda who zookeepers feared was suffering from mild depression, appears to be feeling better after facilities, including a TV and a swing, were set up in her enclosure.
Seeming to have gotten over the bad mood, which began 20 days ago, the panda was snacking on a piece of bamboo in her home at the Yunnan Wildlife Park in Kunming on Sunday afternoon.
She even remained in plain view long enough for visitors to have their photos taken with her.
Sijia's mood seemed to darken about a month ago after her friend Meiqian was sent back to her home in Ya'an, Sichuan province, on March 31.
"In the first few days after Meiqian's departure, Sijia started acting strangely, ignoring the keepers and showing little interest in her food, even the buns that used to be her favorite," said Wang Guanqin, an employee of the wildlife park
Three pandas, Sijia, Meiqian and Qianqian, were brought to the Kunming wildlife park's panda house from their original home in Sichuan in May 2008, after a magnitude-8 earthquake struck the province, affecting the pandas' habitat and threatening their safety.
Qianqian was sent back to Sichuan in 2012. Meiqian followed her in March this year for mating and breeding, leaving Sijia alone in Kunming.
To revive her spirits and appetite, zookeepers took advice from residents and set up a swing, parallel bars and a TV for her.
Wang said Sijia gradually grew back into herself after the facilities were set up. Sometimes she even stopped eating and stared at the TV screen, which showed the three pandas playing together.
Li Yongshuang, Sijia's keeper, said he feeds Sijia six times a day with bamboo, carrots, apples and buns. The panda will turn 8 years old this year and weighs about 115 kilograms, thanks to her healthy appetite prior to her 20-day depression, he said.
Wang Jia, 27, had come to the zoo with her boyfriend to see Sijia and said that the TV was a nice touch for the panda's enclosure.
"But it would be even better if Sijia could stay in Yunnan forever and have a cub here in the future, so that she won't feel lonely at all," she said.
Wang Guanqing with the wildlife park said the zoo is negotiating with staff members from Sijia's original home, hoping to keep Sijia, the only panda in Yunnan, and maybe even find her a mate in the future.