WAKAYAMA -- A western Japan zoo presented handmade toys to a baby female giant panda on March 3 to commemorate Japan's "Hinamatsuri," or girls' festival.
The gifts included toys made of bamboo and Kishu cypress, and cedar blocks that resemble diamond-shaped rice cakes which are offered to hina dolls. Yuka Nakatani, 26, a member of the breeding staff, wrote on the toy, "please grow up healthy."
The cub, born at Adventure World theme park in the town of Shirahama, Wakayama Prefecture, on Nov. 22, 2020, looked very interested in the toys, pushing them with her nose and chewing on them. There was even a moment when she fell asleep while playing with the gifts.
"I'm looking forward to seeing how the baby will play with these toys as she grows up," Nakatani said.
(Japanese original by Yukihiro Takeuchi, Tanabe Local Bureau)