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U.S. zoo-born pandas shipped to China prefer American food, only understand English

Giant panda Mei Huan lies on the ground at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding on November 16, 2016 in Chengdu, Sichuan Province of China. Wang Qin/Chengdu Economic Daily/VCG via Getty Images

Three-year-old giant panda twins that were transferred from a zoo in Atlanta to China earlier this month are struggling to adjust to their new home.

Mei Lun and Mei Huan were born July 15, 2013 at Zoo Atlanta and were the first surviving panda twins born in the United States. Under a loan agreement with China, pandas born in the U.S. are sent to China around the age of four.

According to China state media, the pandas are still used to their Western lifestyle and only understand English.

Giant panda Mei Huan lies on the ground at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding on November 16, 2016 in Chengdu, Sichuan Province of China. Wang Qin/Chengdu Economic Daily/VCG via Getty Images

According to the People’s Daily, Mei Lun and Mei Huan arrived at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding on Nov. 5 and apparently are having a hard time letting go of American crackers for Chinese bread.

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Luo Yunhong, a breeder at the centre, told the state media that his concern about the pandas’ transition is that both of them are hooked on American crackers and that crackers are needed to be mixed with everything the pandas eat, even drinking water.

Yunhong told the People’s Daily he’s been slowly replacing the crackers with Chinese bread.

Giant panda Mei Lun sleeps at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding on November 16, 2016 in Chengdu, Sichuan Province of China. Wang Qin/Chengdu Economic Daily/VCG via Getty Images

Speaking with China Daily, Yunhong explained the similarities between the bread and crackers.

“Biscuits and wowotou have similar nutritional ingredients but different flavours result from different preparation methods,” he said.

The breeder said both Mei Lun and Mei Huan are struggling to understand the Sichuan dialect and only respond to basic English commands.

However, Yunhong said the twins are slowly adjusting to their new lives in China.

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