Fubao the Panda Captures Hearts

The first South Korea-born panda is returned to China, leaving thousands of fans in her wake.

Fubao the Panda Captures Hearts

Photo: Fubao. Credit: Everland.

On April 3, Fubao - the first panda born in South Korea - was returned to China, with fans thronging in her wake. Fubao, born in July 2020, is the offspring of the two pandas brought to the Everland 에버랜드 zoo in 2016 to celebrate the zoo’s 40th anniversary. 

Fubao has been a superstar since the moment of her birth. She has been featured in 20 TV specials, and a two-hour YouTube video chronicling her life to date has 1.6m views as of this writing. Reservations for a pop-up store selling limited-edition Fubao merchandise sold out within five minutes, with more than 20k fans visiting the store. Fubao’s fans have also purchased billboard advertisements celebrating her birthday, treatment usually reserved for top K-pop stars.

Fubao’s new home will be the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Sichuan Province. Everland’s contract with the China Wildlife Conservation Association stipulates that mature pandas must be returned to China before they turn four years old. With Fubao back in China, Everland has four giant pandas, including Ruibao and Huibao, twins born in July 2023.

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