Family | Guardians of Giant Pandas

ByXie Lin May 8, 2024

Guardians of Giant Pandas

Zeng Wen is a giant panda breeder with the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, in southwest China's Sichuan Province. Zeng has dedicated himself to taking care of the widely loved pandas. He and his wife, Zhou Jing, have also dedicated themselves to various public-welfare initiatives; as such, they have set a great example for their sons. The family has gained happiness through giving warmth and care to others.

Guardians of Giant Pandas

Coming True

An elderly relative in Zeng's extended family researched giant pandas prior to his retirement. "When I was young, I listened to his stories about giant panda protection. At that time, I made up my mind to become a guardian of giant pandas," recalls Zeng.

Zeng studied food nutrition at university. In keeping with his childhood dream, Zeng became a breeder at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, after he graduated from the university in 2008.

Zeng is responsible for feeding and taking care of giant pandas, and he leads his team in conducting research into artificially assisted feeding of giant panda cubs. He takes care of every panda with all his heart, and he clearly remembers how the pandas grow up, under his care.

Guardians of Giant Pandas

A newborn panda weighs just about 100 grams, about 0.1 percent of the weight of a fully grown panda, making its survival extremely difficult. Feeding the cubs requires arduous work, great patience and a sense of responsibility of the breeders, both day and night. For more than a decade, Zeng and his colleagues have fed and cared for more than 100 baby pandas. Given the breeders' efforts, the survival rate of the cubs has always been 100 percent.

Zeng has applied his knowledge of food nutrition, which he acquired at university, into his work. He has fed the cubs in a targeted way, to ensure their healthy growth. To feed and care for the cubs in a better way, he pursued advanced studies in Sichuan Agricultural University, where he received a bachelor's degree in zoology. Zeng was awarded the Craftsman of Dujiangyan City (in Sichuan Province) . 

Guardians of Giant Pandas

Harmonious Family

Zhou works in the human resources department of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda. Even though the couple works for the same employer, they generally spend more time apart than they do together. Why? As a giant panda breeder, Zeng works in different bases of the center, and he often sleeps at the center. However, Zeng and Zhou always support and care for each other.

Zeng is grateful to his wife for having his back. "During recent years, I have spent more time with pandas than with my family. My wife has born the burden of taking care of the elderly and our children, but she never complains to me. I often spend my free time communicating with my sons via phone video. I return home to accompany my family whenever I can have a break," he says.

"My husband is a responsible person. I'm lucky to be married to him. We have known each other for more than 20 years, and we have a tacit mutual understanding. We are also good friends, who can talk about anything," says Zhou.

"My wife and I have always been honest with each other. When we encounter difficulties, we will discuss how to deal with the problems. We have created a warm and harmonious family atmosphere for our sons. We will work together to make our family better," says Zeng. 

Guardians of Giant Pandas

Sharing Love

Both Zeng and Zhou are Party (Communist Party of China) members. They often participate in volunteer activities, such as donating blood, planting trees, donating money and goods to needy children, and caring for the elderly in nursing homes. By contributing to society, the couple hopes to set a good example for their sons, so they will become good people, who are ready to help others.

On weekends, Zeng and Zhou often take their sons to visit their grandparents, participate in voluntary environmental services in parks, and visit and care for the elderly in nursing homes. Zeng's family has gained happiness through giving warmth and care to others. In May 2023, Zeng's family was selected a National Most Beautiful Family.

"My wife and I pay more attention to cultivating the children's good characters and habits. We often communicate with our sons, and we teach them how to behave, and how to deal with matters, so they will grow up happy and healthy," Zeng concludes. 

Guardians of Giant Pandas


Photos from Interviewee

(Women of China English Monthly April 2024)


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