The Mayor of Madrid and the Chinese Embassy are made proud godparents to the Madrid Zoo & Aquarium’s Panda twins
The Internet has voted and the most popular names are You You and Jiu Jiu. The names signify “friendship” with Spain and the wish for long life for the pandas.
Madrid, December 17, 2021. The giant panda twins born on September 6 at the Madrid Zoo & Aquarium have received their official names today, their 100th birthday, when, according to tradition, they are considered strong enough.
The twins’ institutional sponsorship took place in a crib installed in their pagoda. Here, the little ones, after being weighed by the veterinarian (6,600 and 6,000 kilos, respectively), received their official names. Mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez Almeida and a representative of the Chinese Embassy, Yao Fei, revealed the names and read them from a parchment scoll.
Of 6 proposals submitted by the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens, the two most popular names were You You 友 友, meaning “friendship” and Jiu Jiu 久久, translated as “long-lasting” or "the wish that lasts a long time." The combination of both symbolizes friendship between both countries and the wish for a long life for the pandas.
Madrid’s mayor was surprised by the great transformation the cubs have undergone since their first meeting, at the end of September. He highlighted the work carried out at the Madrid Zoo in the field of scientific research and preservation of threatened species through techniques such as artificial insemination in collaboration with institutions like INIA-CSIC and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the UCM. Almeida encouraged Madrilenians to learn more about this important work. He highlighted the unique opportunity for Madrid to welcome twins of an emblematic species, of which only 1,864 wild specimens remain. A mere 600 exist in breeding centers and zoological institutions like the one in Madrid.
For his part, Yao Fei, Chargé d'Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Spain stated that the giant panda is considered a national treasure of China and an emblem of peace and friendship. For more than four decades, Madrid Zoo has cared for pandas. They have become a symbol of friendship between the two peoples. He thanked the Madrid Zoo for the great work it has done for the birth of the two cubs and wished them a healthy and robust growth.
Symbolism of panda names
Since the popular vote was launched through the Madrid Zoo website last October, You You has ranked as the favorite and Jiu Jiu took second place, with 1113 and 1012 votes respectively. From the 171.4 and 137.4 grams they weighed at birth three months ago, the little males have already reached 6 kilos. They can lift their heads and, although they have not yet learned to crawl, they are much more aware and interactive with each other. Both cubs continue to breast feed and are growing more and more each day.
The first public naming of a panda at the Madrid Zoo was that of Chulin, in 1982. The name, meaning "Treasure among bamboo”, paid tribute to the traditional name for the people of Madrid. Later, twins born in 2010 received the names Po (innocent nature) and De De (the colloquial way of referring to Madrid in Mandarin); Xing Bao (star treasure) was the name chosen for the fourth male panda bear born on August 30, 2013. The first female, Chulina, received that name in 2016, in homage to her famous predecessor Chulin. Now, You You and Jiu Jiu, the sixth and seventh panda babies born successfully at the Madrid Zoo, perpetuate the importance of their species.