It’s been an exciting time at the viewing area of the Giant Panda Research Station. As visitors to Panda Cam may have noticed, the animal care staff is transitioning Bai Yun and Su Lin from their back areas to the viewing area for short amounts of time each day. Su Lin is proving to be a very smart little bear, finding her way in and out with great insight, if not great coordination. Not quite 5 months old, she is still practicing her crawling skills, with lots of tumbles to come.
The hard part for our many panda fans is that there is no set schedule and the bears are frequently given access to their exhibit bedroom and den, where they often nap. Depending on where they sleep the Panda Cam cameras may be able to focus on them and we can share this view with our Zoo visitors on our viewing area monitor. Getting a peek at the young cub is a great treat – but the most important thing is the comfort and well-being of Su Lin and Bai Yun. It could be a while before there are scheduled exhibit times for mother and cub and Su Lin has already discoverd snug places to nap both in and out of view.
Even the briefest glimpse of our little cub is proving to be a delight! Independant and inquisitive, she’s exploring the area. You may see her gnawing on branches or bamboo, but she is still being nourished by Bai Yun’s rich milk. Su Lin won’t begin to wean to bamboo and other food items until she’s 8 or 9 months old, but like all youngsters she gains a lot of information by feeling, smelling and tasting. She’s even begun climbing, little by little, and it will be all too soon before she masters this important panda skill – and disappears to the top of the trees, the safest place for cubs to rest!
Ellie Rosenbaum is a panda narrator at the San Diego Zoo.
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