Rolling Stone

Posted at 7:22 am December 30, 2005 by Suzanne Hall

It’s the end of the year and Su Lin seems to be settling in rather nicely with her new schedule. She’s on exhibit in the mornings now, and uses the time to play and explore. By the afternoon, she is pretty worn out and spends many hours asleep in the bedroom attached to the exhibit.

I am always amazed at how quickly the panda cub changes when it is brought out into an exhibit space. The infant goes from being a quiet, docile little creature sheltering in a den to tearing up the place with amazing energy in no time flat. There is no moss growing on this stone, and Su Lin is no exception.

Her climbing technique has improved dramatically since she has been on exhibit. Having lots of logs and branches to scale has resulted in increased dexterity on her part. She seems to be ahead of the curve on this relative to her big brother, Mei Sheng.

Social play between Bai Yun and Su Lin has also picked up. We are now seeing longer, more protracted bouts of biting and swatting each other and Su Lin often climbs on her mother to get up higher for these play bouts. We record a lot of sessions now in which the cub is trying repeatedly to get momma to play, but Bai Yun is too busy eating or sleeping to join in.

Bai Yun is starting to play a little defense with regard to her bamboo. Often, Su Lin will come in close to start a play bout or perhaps try to nurse. If Bai Yun is engaged in a bamboo feeding session, she often puts out a back paw and stops Su Lin before she gets too close. She plants that paw on Su Lin’s forehead, as if to say, “That’s far enough.” All the while, Bai Yun continues to feed. She obviously has her priorities! We aren’t alarmed by this behavior from Bai Yun, as we recognize that she needs to take care of herself, too. What’s more, we saw this same behavior with both of her previous cubs.

Su Lin is beginning to spend time mouthing and playing with bamboo. She won’t actually begin to consume it reliably for a few more months, and is still dependant on momma’s milk for most of her sustenance (she does sneak a biscuit now and then!). Look for her to increase her time spent playing with bamboo from here on out, learning how to handle and manipulate the material. It takes practice to be a bamboo aficionado!

Suzanne Hall is the panda research technician for the San Diego Zoo’s Office of Giant Panda Conservation.

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140 Responses to “Rolling Stone”

  1. Eugena says:

    Thanks! Suzanne, a good blog on our lovely bears! It seems to me that Su Lin is much less active than Hua Mei and Mei Sheng though. I remember Hua Mei’s wild nights out on trees and Mei Sheng’s fluffy face with lots of dirt and grass on it. 🙂 Also, does anybody notice the different look of bears? Bai Yun always has a smile on her face, so does Mei Sheng. . NZ’s Mei Xiang has a super round face and small mouth, so she always looks pouty, and cute of course.

  2. Kay Gabbert says:

    My husband and our three adult children just returned from a Christmas trip to San Diego, a highlight of which was seeing Su Lin. We got to the zoo just as the doors opened on Wednesday, and we headed straight to the panda exhibit. What a treat to see the three pandas that I’ve watched on Panda Cam for so long. Bai Yun was completely occupied with eating bamboo and Mei Sheng with sleeping, but Su Lin was mouthing bamboo, climbing and being generally entertaining. Two trips through, two rolls of film, and about half an hour later, we went on to enjoy the rest of the wonderful zoo – but this was the highlight!

  3. Cécile says:

    Thank you for the update about Su Lin. Your blogs are very interesting. Though I’m so far…far away from California, I feel like I’m visiting the zoo, meeting the pandas when reading your story. Also, I enjoy the zoo audio tour very much.

  4. TAMI MICHAUD says:

    She is just toooo cute… and growing up too fast in front of our eyes…I won’t be looking in on her now for 2 weeks!!!!! And I’ll miss all the blogs from today until then..aaaawwwwww…. Take lots of pictures…..

  5. Jean says:

    I was just wondering what makes panda bears good climbers? In videos I’ve seen from the NZ, it’s obvious that Mei Xiang is a much better climber than Tian Tian, both physically and mentally. She can quickly climb a tree to get away from Tian Tian. You said that Su Lin seems to be ahead of Mei Sheng in terms of climbing ability. Mei Xiang and Bai Yun are about the same size, but Tian Tian and Gao Gao are about 100 lbs apart with Gao Gao being the smaller of the two at 174 lbs. Who is the better climber, Gao Gao or Bai Yun? Does a smaller size help you climb or do the females tend to be better climbers so they can escape from the males? I think Tai Shan at the NZ is going to be a big bear and not a very good climber like his daddy and the fact that Su Lin is more petite seems to help her climbing ability. I was just curious who is the better climber between Bai Yun or Gao Gao, who is about 50lbs smaller than Bai. Are the females generally the better climbers, or does having a smaller size make it easier for the bears to climb?

  6. kelvin says:

    Su Lin’s climbing skill and dexterity is seemingly ahead of her relative in NZ , thanks for the logs and branches in SDZ.

    One thing I am quite confused about, it seems to be contrary to the instinct of a panda cub to sleep in the open area; the cub would be exposed to predators in the wild, but Tai Shan can easily fall into deep sleep in the yard !

  7. Eugena says:

    #5 Jean, I read a report in Chinese on Gao Gao regarding his tree-climbing. Gao Gao was a movie star and in a documentary titled Going Home, which won some international documentary award. Gao Gao has been always reluctant to climb trees. Maybe he was traumatized since he was a rescued wild panda. His Chinese keeper tried all sorts of ways to get him climbing trees, but he simply could not. His keeper then got worried and said,” If you don’t know how to climb trees, then other wild animals might hurt you!” But that did not work on Gao Gao.

  8. Ryannon says:

    Welcome back Suzanne, you were missed to be sure. Ellie’s post got us through but your posts are the bamboo of our panda blog diet. Wow, Su Lin is getting so big. I have watched all three SDZ babies and I must say, there is such a huge difference between them all. Hua Mei was fearless, ready to jump before even checking to see how far. Mei Sheng was that cuddly lovable bear that he still is today. Su Lin seems to be a combination of the two. She is sweet and lovable but doesn’t seem to fear a whole lot of anything. She just seems to enter slowly compared to her older sister, but enter she does.

    And #6? I think we all agree that Tai Shan could fall into a deep sleep ANYWHERE in any circumstance, regardless of noise, predators, new surroundings. When he is ready to sleep, he just drops without care for where or what is around him. I would give anything for that ability.

  9. Mary Lou Watkins says:

    My ‘before breakfast treat’ is viewing Su Lin and Tai Shan every morning. Love to see Su Lin climbing the big branches where Tai Shan mostly climbs rocks and sleeps with his soccer ball in the round pan. Thanks for the privilege of being able to view these sweet animals from birth on. Have watched Tai Shan wrestle with his mom but have not seen this yet with Su Lin but I realize that she is about 6 <3> weeks younger than Tai Shan.

  10. Rita says:

    Good to see Bai happier this morning. The saying ” If Momma Ain’t Happy Ain’t Nobody Happy” certainly seems to apply to panda moms.

  11. Grace says:

    I love the sight of mother Bai Yun and Su Lin sleeping in the trees together!!! This is just way too cute!!!!! Little Su Lin definitely stays close to mama whenever she can.

  12. Linnea says:

    Two months ago I stumbled across the link to the SDZ live cams and have been so hooked since. I keep the panda cam on all day at work as a ” screensaver.” Of course, being in the Sunshine State on the East Coast with the 3-hour difference allows me to watch Su Lin & Bai Yun from wake-up time to almost bedtime. What an amazing mother Bai Yun is! My teens always tell me ” you’re watching again,” but when I tell them to come see something, they think it’s so cute too.

    What is going on at the back fence where the keepers come through that seems to upset Bai Yun at times? You know the old saying ” you can tell by body movements more than what you can hear. ” Mom seemed very concerned about her baby.

    My very big special Thank You for the SDZ live cams, blogs and updates because all of them have given me peace of mind I so badly need by just watching them. After going through a divorce after 26 years (not my choice), your Zoo animals & staff have given me much comfort watching you every day. I know from all of the blogs that all of you love your jobs and God Bless all of you for sharing it with the world.


  13. Ellen of Poway CA says:

    Really precious – Bai Yun sitting up in the tree branches and Su Lin is nursing. Something frightened Bai Yun, she looked straight up, opened her mouth making a noise no doubt. Bai Yun immediately bent over low, tucking Su Lin under her. This seemed like a protective posture which she held for a couple of minutes then went down off the tree. Su Lin went a short way following Bai Yun then just draped herself on the limb to rest? sleep? Looked like someone was in the immediate area.

  14. susan b says:

    I saw Su Lin today on CNN. They were announcing her debut at SDZ. She looked so adorable! My husband said ” Oh, look, it’s your baby bear on tv.” I told him that she is everybody’s baby bear now! She is growing up so fast. Happy New Year to everyone involved in her care, and happy new year to all those here.

  15. BettyB from Mass. says:

    Linnea (#12) Another writer commented that Bai Yun will often become restless when she knows it’s time for the keepers to clean up the exhibit area and bring in the fresh bamboo. Her internal clock is very accurate, I’m sure. Sorry to hear about your troubles. Sure is great to have the innocence and cuteness of the pandas to help our minds get away, at least temporarily, from our difficulties. I enjoy Su Lin growing and learning new skills, but in a way I miss the simpler times of watching her sleeping and rolling around the birthing den, and the comfort of always knowing exactly where she is. I’m not so good at letting go!

  16. Martha says:

    The Saturday 12/30 Washington Post newspaper has an informative article about the U.S. State Department diplomats who liaise between China and U.S. zoos to bring about panda exchanges. Go the the Post’s web site, and do a search on ” panda” to find the article, entitled ” A Tool of Diplomacy (And Oh So Cuddly): Panda Program a Bilateral Triumph” .

  17. Valerie Warburton says:

    Hello Suzanne, Once again thanks for the wonderful update. I laughed out loud – again – at Su Lin whilst watching a video clip recently. Upside down and hanging for a couple of seconds. My heart was in my mouth, but no, she righted herself and carried on. Superb !! I love to watch any ” grown up” actions taking place, to see her with bamboo and to know she thinks ” mmmm, I know what to do, ‘cos Mum does this, I just don’t know how to do it” is so funny. To see Bai Yun so very relaxed and laid back whilst Su Lin is tearing around is wonderful. What an absolutely superb Mum she is.

    Suzanne, may I take this opportunity, with your permission of course, to give you the latest on Toga, our adorable baby penguin. I received the following e mail this morning:-

    ” ” Dear Valerie,

    Thank you for your e-mail! Unfortunately we have had no further news as to Toga’s whereabouts. We are still hopeful that with the help of the public and police we will learn what has happened to him and find the person responsible. We have installed a new security system in the Penguin area to ensure that this tragic event cannot happen again in the future and we hope to add a CCTV system (with the donations we are receiving). Toga’s parents are now eating well and have been seen preening each other and picking up nesting material which are all signs of courtship so we hope they will have a new chick soon. Thank you for your kind wishes and we wish you a Happy New Year” ” .

    I wanted to share this with all of you who have shown such a wondeful interest and concern about our baby Toga. Thank you from me personally. I would like to end by just wishing you Suzanne, and all of your colleagues and animals a Happy New Year. I extend this greeting also of course to all who participate in these wonderful blogs. Thank you all for making the last few months so superb.

    Take care everyone, Valerie Warburton – UK.

    Best wishes from all at Amazon World. x

  18. Jules says:

    Re comment made by #1: I really liked it very much, thank you. HAPPY NEW YEAR! TO ALL AT THE ZOO AND AT THE PANDA BLOG.!

  19. Barbara says:

    #1 – Eugena, yes, I do notice the difference in the looks of ” our” panda bears. I can tell them all apart. It’s easy to tell when Mei Sheng is in Gao Gao’s exhibit. I have made the remark to several people that ” they don’t all look alike.” … and we also know they don’t all act alike, don’t we?

  20. Arabella says:

    We visited the SD Zoo on Wednesday and saw Su Lin carefully climbing around the tree limbs next to her sleeping mom. What a nice exhibit for the animals! The zoo is beautiful, and the animals look well-cared for. Thank you to the panda keepers and to all the zoo staff.

    Arabella from Santa Cruz, CA

  21. SV says:

    The dedication of the staff is outstanding, but what was someone doing at 1:30 AM your time adjusting the cam? Are you doing overnight studies to see when the night activity takes place? Nevertheless I was intrigued by what Su Lin was doing climbing up the tree and then seeing mom climb up to be with her. I guess pandas don’t believe in the overnight sleeping that we adhere to. Thanks again.

  22. Cécile says:

    It’s 10.16am San Diego time. Madame Bai Yun and mademoiselle Su Lin are sleeping side by side in the trees. What a touching picture! They are adorable!

  23. Betty says:

    Tai was multi-tasking this morning. He had his soccer ball, kong toy and a cardboard box in the black tub with him, and he played with the ball with his hind feet and the box with his front feet. I remember when Hua Mei was given a cardboard box to play with. She dragged that box around till it was in tatters. It seemed to be her favorite toy. There must be something very appealing to pandas about cardboard.

  24. Loriann says:

    Have been entertained watching Bai Yun and Su Lin sleeping in a tree today. It was a treat to see Gao Gao climbing everywhere too. 🙂 Maybe we’ll see Mei Sheng soon also! Happy New Year to the Pandas and Zoo staff!

  25. Linda Swenson says:

    It’s 1:40pm and there’s some terrific camera work tracking Mei Sheng in the rain. He’s been climbing all over and is now balancing in a very swaying tree. Now back to handsome Gao Gao, the bamboo eating machine. I was wondering the other day about pandas in the rain, and the camera has shown that at least ” the boys” don’t seem to care.

  26. Cathy G. (L.A.) says:

    What a New Year’s Eve treat! Mei Sheng was showing his climbing and acrobatic skills on cameras #1 and #3 this afternoon. He was climbing, changing position frequently –even heading down upside down at one point. At first I wasn’t sure if it was Mei Sheng, but finally his head was visible up close, thanks to an excellent camera operator who followed him around. Soon, Gao Gao appeared on camera #28, calmly eating his bamboo. Dear Dad does love to eat (and eat and eat).

    How fortunate we are to have SDZ staff take the time to show us what is happening live. If you didn’t get to see it, maybe the time-lapse video will allow you the pleasure this evening. (;-)

  27. susan b says:

    I have been thinking of the comments made about the different shapes to the faces of our panda friends. I had noticed it right off about the adult bears, but not the baby bears. However, as Su and Tai have matured they have definitely ” grown” into their own faces. The shape of the dark fur about Su Lin’s eyes is very pretty and very elegant, and the shape of her head is delicate, with well-set ears. She always has such a determined set to her mouth. She is one determined little girl. And Tai, what can I say, his face is round and cute and very, very boyish. His expression always seems mischievous to me.

  28. Jennifer says:

    I would just like to thank all of the zoo staff (both National and San Diego) for their wonderful editions to our world this year. With everything wrong in the world today, it’s a blessing to see something so pure and innocent in the world today, something that we all can enjoy and watch on a daily basis, and sit back and say, Yea! That’s what life is all about. Happy New Year from Ohio:)

  29. Bernice says:

    Comment#17 – Thank you so much, Valerie, for giving us the update about baby Toga. Though there hasn’t been news, I’m so glad that the donations will go towards a better security system to keep these precious animals safe!

    Comment#1 – YES! Our pandas definitely look different…after watching them for so long I can recognize them quickly now. Bai Yun and Mei Sheng are smiley bears, and Gao Gao has an adorable baby face (he’s like my other big cub). 🙂 Love them all!

    Comment#23 – I love it when Tai does that. 🙂 He’s like the typical baby who drags all his favourite toys to his ‘cuddle corner’…and tries to play with everything at once. Watching him fall asleep in his tub, all tuckered out after all that multi-tasking, is just magical.

  30. susan b says:

    Tai Shan is outside right now. He has propped himself against a pile of rock right next to his Mom. Mei is chewing on a huge pile of bamboo. She seems to be enjoying a peaceful meal. Every once in awhile Tai will put a few leaves in his mouth and chomp down on them. It is hard to tell whether or not he is really eating them or just play-pretending. Su Lin is asleep, draped over a branch, a few inches away from Bai Yun. Bai is asleep, but still protecting her precious baby. Tai and Su are growing up much too fast. I wish they could be babies a little bit longer, but they are definitely in the toddler stage. It is fun to watch them grow. Every day brings a new adventure.

  31. kathryn says:

    what a conderful new year’s present! beautiful Su Lin sleeping pleacefully by Mama, and big bubba Tai Shan climbing all over the place…how precious they are and how lucky we are to be allowed to witness this wonderful gift. Thank you San Diego and NZ for providing us this wonderful window of observation into this magical world of pandas. I would give anything to be able to watch Su & Tai playing together. Now, wouldn’t that be a treat for all of us panadarrazzis!? I have adopted BOTH of these precious bits. I feel I now have 2 more children…! Please, all of you pandophiles, let’s support this wonderful and exciting endeavor and put our money where our hearts are. It’s comforting to know that I am not the only ” crazy” panda lover around. Kat from Texas

  32. Carole Letson says:

    I just returned from an 11 day trip to China with my 9 year old daughter. During this trip we visited Chengdu Panda Reserve (this, I believe is where Atlanta’s panda pair is from). What an experience:-)!!! They have a program where you can pet and have your picture taken with a 2 year old panda, of course, we did so for my daughter. They feed the panda the entire time and there are no less than 5 or 6 keepers present, so I felt that it was very safe. So, my precious daughter got the thrill of a lifetime and got to actually touch a real, live panda bear. Her comment was that he wasn’t soft, but that his fur was wiry. They have one cub which is 2 months old, it was sleeping (naturally). The older bears were very active and eating…they sure are noisy and they do love their treats! It was just a great experience to see Pandas in their ” natural” environment! Much thanks to all the keepers here in the US who are taking such wonderful care of this natural resource and helping to save this precious species.

  33. Margot says:

    Happy New Year to everyone at SDZ! I am in panda-lover’s heaven. I was in LA last week visiting my son (we live near Chicago), and was able to drive to the zoo early on Wed. We got there before the zoo opened and so went right to the pandas when it did. It was a cloudy, damp day and at that point there were not many people in line. But Bai Yun and Su Lin were out in their full glory, and I was able to walk throught the exhibit several times. Bai was perched in a tree, feasting on bamboo, and at times seemed to turn to the visitors with a big smile. Su Lin first-hand was such a marvel! That adorable fluffy bundle was into everything–climbing next to her mother, ambling around, trying to munch on bamboo, resting on the tree branch. It was such a pleasure to see those beautiful girls. And Mei Sheng was in the exhibit next to them, sleeping on a branch and looking so cute, too. We got lots of photos and then were able to visit the rest of the fantastic zoo. What a wonderful day!

    Many, many thanks to all of you who make it possible for us to see those darling pandas–healthy, happy, and obviously enjoying themselves and their habitat.

  34. Suzanne says:

    SV #21,

    Although we no longer have overnight research going on, the pandas are not always alone in the dark. Our security personnel stop in several times each night to make sure that all is well with the bears. They were probably responsible for the camera movements in the middle of the night… checking in on each bear to be sure they are well and where they are supposed to be!

  35. kelvin says:

    Wish a peaceful, happy, healthy year of 2006 to all the staff of SDZ, and the panda lovers in the world.

  36. Ryannon says:

    It is so enjoyable to read all the entries that Suzanne and all the other wonderful people keep us informed with. But it is equally enjoyable to interact with other panda lovers.

  37. Shelly says:

    Would it be possible to see more of Gao Gao when Bai Yun and Su Lin are having some ” down time” ? I can’t get enough of that babyface! Keep up the great work in caring for the pandas. We appreciate it very much. Happy New Year fellow panda fans!

  38. Rita says:

    Mei Sheng was doing headstands in a tree earlier. I guess he was marking the tree.

  39. Linda Swenson says:

    I’m glad Bai is taking care of herself by eating when she can. It must be difficult to get enough bamboo to provide nourishment for our growing Su Lin. When Suzanne mentioned that Bai was getting a little defensive during feeding, it reminded me of the video of ” Mei Sheng’s Public Debut, Dec 19, 2003″ . The first minute shows Bai deftly stopping the approaching cub with her back foot.

  40. paula anderson says:

    Happy New Year to the staff. Thanks for caring for our pandas. You can’t imagine how important it is to see these amazing creatures every day. You make that happen. Take care. Paula

  41. A.Y. says:

    Glad to hear that the security people check on our bears every night. I bet if they ever escaped, they’d come right back… looking for the bamboo of course! 🙂

  42. Michelle says:

    Valerie, although my heart breaks for Toga, life goes on as the email indicated. I spent New Year’s weekend at NZ and got to spend about an hour watching Mei and Tai outside together. I can’t think of a better way to start the new year. It was definitely worth the 7-hour car ride, and I would encourage anyone who could go to go!!! They are SO adorable in person!!! A couple things I noticed-the bears seem bigger in real life than on the cams, and their enclosures seem alot smaller in real life than on the cams. Again, well worth the trip!!!!!!!!

  43. J Weaver says:

    How dissapointing not to see Sui Lin up close anymore. Sure see a lot of bobbing heads of people trying to take pictures however. I miss seeing and watching her!

  44. Holly - Upstate NY says:

    Have a question – On this other Panda blog I know, there are folks who insist that male keepers are a rarity in the US as opposed to China where there are many. How true is this? I know I’ve seen male keepers on the National and Atlanta cams – and maybe 1 at SDZ. Are they few and far between? I just don’t believe it.

    Editor’s note: At the San Diego Zoo, 59% of our keepers are females, 41% are males.

  45. Carla says:

    Hi Suzanne, sorry for my English, it’s not good enough to tell all that I want, but, I’d like to thank you for caring for Su Lin as you have done. I’ve spent many hours by day watching her and her mother (Bai Yun), since last September, and it’s amazing to see her growing up, and now exploring all the areas of exhibition and climbing the small trees. I really appreciate your work, and I have to confess that I feel jealous of you; I would like to touch and care for her too. We all have a lot to learn with the animals. They are a good example of peace, love, patience, family, union and life.

    Congratulations Suzanne !!!

    With love,

    Carla – Recife/Brazil

  46. Cheryl says:

    Gosh Carla – I think your English is terrific, and couldn’t agree with you more! It’s amazing how quickly Su Lin turned from being a sleepy little baby bear, to an adventurous big girl! She’s certainly kept herself busy today – lots of time on the branches in the exhibit exploring and checking out the bamboo. Happy New Year everyone!

  47. Rita says:

    When I started watching your Panda Cam when Mei Sheng was a one-year-old, I noticed that when Bai came inside and got onto her platform bed to eat treats left by her caretaker, it appeared as if she ” zoned out” while eating them, consuming them very slowly. As Mei Sheng got older, he started sneaking treats from his mom while she was in this ” zoned out” state. This afternoon I noticed this behavior in Bai again while she ate some treats on top of the cave structure. I’d really be interested in knowing the cause of this, if it is known.

  48. Kay Ng says:

    I wish time could freeze on Su Lin and Tai Shan so that they will stop growing from now. They are simply too cute and I don’t want them to grow up.

  49. Holly - Upstate NY says:

    I’m with you, Kay (#47) all the way! Just like I wish my kitten would remain little and not grow up to be a full grown cat and die way before I do. The joy of seeing Su and Tai grow and thrive is knowing that they will pass on their USA heritage in their own youngsters in the years to come, and we can all watch proudly from afar, just as we are now with Hua Mei. I’m getting choked up here, I better go. 🙂

  50. Paula says:

    I really appreciate watching the panda cams and reading the blogs from SDZ and NZ. Thank you again.

  51. Eugena says:

    Let’s call it ” first child” traits: both Hua Mei and Tai Shan are wild, fearless and mischievous. Maybe all first-time young mothers tend to spoil their first kid. 🙂

  52. Ann Clayton says:

    I check every day on the little ones. I find it interesting that Su Lin gets up in the tree branches but can’t seem to get down. So once up there she has to stay. Last night I saw her on the branch all alone and she seemed not to be able to get down so finally fell asleep. I waited for quite a while to see if someone would get her, but they didn’t. Mommy bear didn’t check on her either. I just wanted to go get her, but alas I could not. I was sad. Love those bears.

  53. Michelle says:

    Aww, it’s about 1:45pm your time, Bai and Su are sleeping curled up next to each other in their ” condo” . What a precious, precious picture. Beautiful to be able to see that.

  54. Gay Rosenwald says:

    Why is it that when the cam is aimed at the outside area it has an annoying blank flashing affecting the lower 1/3 of the screen? Is it my computer or your cam? I am enchanted by these pandas, and assume you have seen the New York Times ” Cuteness” article in Tuesday’s Science section. One thought: Imagine if the black surrounding the panda’s eyes slanted in the opposite direction, making them look angry instead of so utterly vulnerable and adorable? Would we still find them irrestible?

  55. Cathy G. (L.A.) says:

    This afternoon I have enjoyed watching a close-up of Gao Gao engaged in a loooong lunch. He was facing camera #2 and kept munching in a relaxed way. Since I haven’t seen him very often, does he ever climb up trees or get off the ground in his exhibit, the way the others do? If not, Suzanne, does anyone know why not? Just curious…but enjoying watching him work on his abundant bamboo supply. What a fortunate bear! (;-) Happy New Year to everyone.

  56. Bernice says:

    Comment#54: Gao Gao’s usually munching away, switching spots once in a while. But sometimes, especially during the summer, he gets up to the little ‘cup’ at the top of his tree trunk den…and curls up to nap, shaded by the drooping branches. Such an adorable sight… I refer to that as the ” Gao Gao Cappucino” – because his big fuzzy white body looks like the foam capping a cup of cappucino (the brown trunk)! 🙂 In cooler/wetter days, he chooses to sleep in the body of the trunk once in a while. This bear sure knows how to enjoy life! 🙂

  57. Sayuri says:

    I came across some online news articles from China mentioning the possible candidates for a pair of pandas to be presented to Taiwan. One of the candidates, according to the news report, is No. 19 from Wolong. He is one of Hua Mei’s 2004 twins. Can Suzanne or someone over at SDZ verify this? It’s really hard to understand machine translation…if you know what I mean… Anyway, I understand that China presenting pandas to Taiwan is a big deal, and it’s great to hear a panda with American heritage can play a key diplomatic role.

  58. Kathy says:

    Our family visited SDZ on Tuesday, 12/27. Of coure Su Lin and mom were first on the list of animals to see. We went thru the exhibit a couple of times, took lots of pics, but Su Lin just wouldn’t wake up for a portrait with an Oregon family. We did get many wonderful shots of her snuggled next to her mother. What a perfect way to start the day!

  59. Jules says:

    To # 54 regarding your question about Gao Gao, I have seen him climb up the large hollow tree trunk so he can sleep up at the top. Another time I saw him go over to a hollowed out tree trunk that was placed on the ground and he sprawled himself out to take a nap. He slept like a little baby for a long time and he looked beautiful. All last year when I did take a look, he was either circling around his enclosure outside or eating inside. I noticed he usually has a little spot of dirt on his forehead and I wondered what that was all about. One day I think I saw him rolling his head and bending it over in the ground or something and I figure this is what he does every day and gets that dot over his forehead. I love the news from the Panda Team that Gao Gao bleated to Mei Sheng when they happened to meet while passing through the many passages on their way to their enclosures. It is very sweet news about his personality.

  60. Holly says:

    Are there any rules at SDZ or any other zoos about calling out to the animals and what not? Anybody know?

    Editor’s note: The San Diego Zoo has a narrator stationed at the panda exhibit and signs posted to remind visitors to use soft voices.

  61. Loh says:


    you can refer to Comment#7 which talked about Gao Gao’s climbing skill.

    I have read an article mentioning that in Wolong, the female pandas possess better climbing skills.

  62. Elaine says:

    I have noticed while watching Su Lin that she is having alot of trouble getting down from precarious places. Her bunk bed for one, and now the branch/rocks in the exhibit area. Is she really having a hard time, or is she just waiting for Bai or the handlers to bail her out/get her down ?

  63. Margot says:

    What a smart, determined little bear Su Lin is! I’ve just spent a while watching her as she figured out the best way to climb down from her branch. I could almost see the wheels turning in her brain as she maneuvered right and left, up and down, testing this way and that, placing her paws or fluffy little bottom in the best position. It is truly amazing to watch her progress.

  64. Cuquis says:

    I wonder whether the staff performed a medical check up on Su Lin yesterday… I am looking forward to knowing about the growth progress of that little beauty.

    Editor’s note: Su Lin weighed in at 16.25 pounds (7.3 kilograms) and measured 30 inches (78.5 centimeters) yesterday. There were no photos or video taken.

  65. Elaine says:

    Hi, just watching Bai Yun in her exhibit area, and notice she is pacing back n’ forth quite a bit. Is this usual behavior ? I’ve not seen this before. Is she waiting for Su Lin to join her ?

  66. Bernice says:

    I know it’s all been said before, but…I must comment again on Bai’s and Mei’s wonderful maternal skills. Sometimes, if Mei decides to end a nursing session and Tai’s still hungry, he squeals and ‘cries’…upon which Mei would let him nurse a little more. Then she’d sit there licking her nipples – as with all breastfeeding mothers I think she might be a bit sore? Tai does have sharp little teeth! But all the while, she lets Tai climb all over her like a feisty little bug while she quietly takes care of herself. I’ve seen Bai do that with Su too (i.e. licking herself). These girls are the best…so gentle and loving…

  67. Cheryl says:

    What…? No photos or video of Su Lin’s last exam? I’m so sad 🙁 Please promise you will next week – as they are always so adorable, and she is just getting so big, that she won’t be our baby girl much longer.

  68. Sayuri says:

    It’s official! Hua Mei’s kid is going to Taiwan! Truly an international family.

  69. Kay Ng says:

    To #57, the Chinese government just revealed the two pandas to be sent to Taiwan. The boy is one of Hua Mei’s twin boys, born in 9/1/2004. The girl is the only girl born in Wolong in 2004. They are very special and very cute!

  70. Loh says:

    Salute to all the mothers in the world (including panda mothers) , maternity is the greatest of ALL !

    Mei Xiang is now sleeping on the rocks and let her son sleep on her platform. It’s touching to see how a mother loves her son in all aspects.

  71. Shawna says:

    To #57- I too just read the article, and they stated that ” The male panda, first son of the U.S.-returned star panda ” Hua Mei” , is one year and four months old, weighing 46kg.” It is quite exciting that one of Bai Yun’s grandcubs is going to be a diplomatic ambassador! 🙂

  72. Carole says:

    I visited the zoo today and was delighted to see Su Lin climb past the V in the pine tree (at least 15 feet) and smoothly make her way back down. She is a superb climber.

  73. Holly says:

    I just read on the Pandafans site blog that China has offered 2 pandas to Taiwan yesterday and one of them is Hua Mei’s son, born on Sept 1st, 2004! It says he is lively, tame, and loves to honk! It just said he was ‘giant panda #19’ wonder if he has a name? His mate will be ‘giant panda #16’ a female born August 3rd, 2004. There are pictures of the pair having their panda fun together, as always, very sweet to see. They are at Wolong now. Isn’t this wonderful to hear news of this type?

  74. Jules says:

    Well it is offical, China Daily just said Hua Mei’s first and oldest son was one of the two picked to go to Taiwan as an ambassador for peace. As one of his adopted sponsors, I’m proud of him. As I am of Hua Mei for being such a great mom and bringing up such a happy and healthy boy. Which all comes back to the San Diego Zoo where it all started with the Panda Team, thank you!

  75. Eugena says:

    I just saw a great picture of the 16 cubs at Wolong wearing red Christmas hats on the web. My god! They are the most adorable bears!

  76. Candy Coleman says:

    I’m glad that China is sending Hua Mei’s son to Taiwan; just wish they would wait until he is a little older. They don’t leave their mothers this soon in the wild do they? Worry, worry, worry!! LOL ALL the pandas (young and old) just need to come to my house so I can quit worrying so much!!!

  77. Sayuri says:

    I watched the live video feed of the press conference online last night. I had no idea what those men were saying, but whenever I heard ” Hua Mei,” ” Bai Yun,” or ” Shi Shi,” I said, ” Yaaay! They said Hua Mei!” Some of the articles said that the Wolong staff calls our little boy, ” Little Darling.” That sounds better than Number 19. And he’s a cutie. He’s a bit younger than Uncle Mei Sheng and a bit older than Auntie Su Lin. Photos of him eating some kind of treats with his future bride were just so adorable.

    Now, Taiwan’s independence movement leaders are urging Taiwanese officials to reject the panda offer. It’s all politics, you know. The saga continues…

    By the way, I love watching Su Lin climbing and nibbling and exploring everyday. She seems to think a lot. I like the fact that she doesn’t have any human toys while on exhibit. Learning to climb a real tree is probably more important than playing with a ball at the stage where she’s at. Besides, there are so many things for her to explore in that little garden. I can’t wait to see her climbing all the way up high just like her brother does.

  78. Cathy G. (L.A.) says:

    To #76 — If the pandas moved to your house, the rest of us could come to help take care of them! (;-) The January 2006 San Diego Zoo’s ZOONOOZ magazine arrived yesterday and the cute cover picture is Su Lin. Inside there is a very nice story and pictures of her and the first Su Lin. What a treat it is. I’ve been saving the newspaper pictures of both Tai and Su Lin as they appear. Wish I lived closer to San Diego, but the Panda Cam is the next best thing.

  79. Ellen of Poway CA says:

    I saw pictures, (Wolong) in China Daily about two cubs. One was #16 and the other #19. How sad 🙁 not to have a name. I thought it was China’s tradition to name pandas when they were 100 days old. One of Hua Mei’s first set of twins will be sent to Taiwan. Hua Mei’s twins are named Mei Qiao and Mei Lian. I thought they were both male. I wonder which one is going to Taiwan. Giant Pandas going global – San Diego to China to Taiwan. Do we have zoological connections with Taiwan? It would be so wonderful to follow Bai Yun’s (S.D.’s) progeny.

  80. Mel says:

    Does anyone think that no.16 and Mei Sheng look so alike? 🙂

  81. Cuquis says:

    Gao Gao is so cute when he eats. He looks like a big baby panda.

  82. cathy says:

    I just saw photos of Hua Mei’s son and the little girl panda who will be going with him to Taiwan! they are super duper cute! I thought that her first set of twins were named Mei Ling and Hua Ling. They’re both a little over a year old – I thought it was Chinese tradition to have the Pandas named after they’re 100 days old. It’s so impersonal to call them No. 16 and No. 19… Unless they’re going to be renamed by the Taiwanese people so the No. 16 and No. 19 are just temporary.

    Hua Mei is a wonderful Panda and a great Mom! I’m really proud of her and even more so knowing that she was born in the US and was under the loving care of the SDZ staff!

    Is there any possibility that the Chinese government will let us keep a few of the Pandas? what about goodwill gifts to the United States?? We’d love to have the Pandas stay here permanently! I am sure many of us, especially me, will be very sad when Mei Sheng leaves. He’s my favorite Panda and I wish they’d let him stay here permanently!

  83. Eugena says:

    His majesty Gao Gao is munching on his bamboo. How cute.

  84. Cathy Nguyen says:

    Someone here once mentioned the names of Hua Mei’s latest twins born on August 29th last year, I think one was named Hao Yun, does anyone know their names? Thanks 🙂

  85. Judy J says:

    Oh ” Gao Gao” how beautiful you are and what beautiful children you have given us. I fell in love with your wonderful Panda face the first time I saw you at the SDZ and I love you still. Watching you supremely happily eating your bamboo safe and warm and secure brings a smile to my heart and gratefulness to your keepers and all of those devoted to your care and well being. You and Bai Yun have given us hope in Mei Sheng and Su Lin–Congratulations to you and the whole Panda Team! Blessings to ALL in this NEW YEAR! Luv, Judy J

  86. Dan says:

    :):):):):) They are soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cute! I just saw Su and Bai rubbing together!

  87. Cécile says:

    I’m so gald that the first grandson of Bai Yun is going to Taiwan as an ambassador for peace. Hope he will soon have children…Bai Yun will become a great-grandma!

  88. BettyB from Mass. says:

    Just before 1pm SD time–Bai Yun and Su Lin are outside sleeping next to each other on the tree limbs on top of one of the lairs; so sweet to see mother and child so attached to each other. At NZ, Tai Shan and Mei Xiang are sharing leaf eater biscuits in their exhibit–how generous Mei is to share treats with her boy. I just read another article, by the AP, that China will send two cubs of 1+ years old, to Taiwan. The two are to be named in a Jan. 28 televised vote on suggestions from the Chinese public. But all is not well in panda-land. Taiwan has not yet decided to accept the panda cubs–many feel that the Chinese have disrespected them by announcing the gift without consulting Taiwan officially. There is a lot of political manipulation involved in the panda gifting. Hopefully the panda gifts can help to somehow resolve the deep differences between China and Taiwan. I know that discussing politics is not always a good idea, but hopefully the pandas can help smooth over some long-standing strife.

  89. LINDA says:

    The CNN news web site has a video about the 2 pandas that have been offered to Taiwan. The pictures of the 2 are wonderful. The news cast refers to the little girl as ‘little flower’ because the keepers consider her to be particularly beautiful.

  90. LINDA says:

    I’m sorry, I referenced the name of the little girl incorrectly, she is currently being called ‘the flower of Wolong’. She is exceptionally beautiful and a very nice complement to the little boy. The newscast said that the names in the public voting that seem to be the most popular when combined mean ‘reunify’ (or something like that).

  91. Anne Futch says:

    Has anyone read about a potential bamboo die-off in China?? I know it is a natural (but unfortunate) occurance, but think of the timing of it all, when we have more little panda mouths than ever to feed. Previous die-offs and the images of pandas who have starved to death are not something we want to see again. Hopefully there is a plan in place that will prevent such a thing. On a happier note, viewing the antics of our two ” babies” is something I’ve waited to see since the days of Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing (I thought of her the other week as we reached the anniversary of her death. Her unsuccessful attempts at becoming a mother broke my heart). Many thanks to all involved who allow us to visit with our West Coast cutie and that little DC bundle of thunder who makes me laugh so hard I cry.

  92. Lisa Anderson says:

    If Taiwan won’t accept the gracious gift of the panda pair, they are more than welcome at my house, lol….making note to do research on growing bamboo 😉

  93. EVA says:

    Hi, I just heard that Hua Mei’s cub is one of the 2 pandas being gifted to Taiwan from China! Is that accurate?

  94. Cathy Nguyen says:

    I hope that the political differences or strife do not get in the way of the well-being of these Pandas. I read that there are some environmental groups in Taiwan protesting the use of animals as diplomatic gifts. They think it’s best to leave the animals in their natural habitat rather than sending them off to be some sort of political bargaining tools. I totally agree. I hope that the Taiwanese government will make up its mind whether to accept or not accept these precious beings.

    The Giant Pandas are absolutely the cutest and most charming beings! who can resist them? They can melt butter on the coldest Arctic winter day!

    I found out the names of one of Hua Mei’s twin sets – Da Hua Sheng and Hao Yun. I’m not sure if these are her first twins or the second set.

  95. Bernice says:

    Oh my goodness – No. 19 (Hua Mei’s oldest boy) is the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen! He’s such a roly-poly, ‘wholesome’ panda! 🙂 The little girl looks like a spirited little thing…the flower of Wolong indeed. 🙂 I just hope things go well for them and that wherever they end up living, they’re happy and healthy.

  96. Betty says:

    One of the articles I read about the pandas being offered to Taiwan said that the pandas were chosen on their genetic backgrounds and their compatibility. They put different pairs of pandas together for a few days at a time to see if they got along — sort of like ” trial dating” . The two chosen were one of Hua Mei’s twins – a boy, and a girl panda from another mother. CNN says they haven’t been named yet.

  97. Cuquis says:

    Su Lin spent most of the day up in the branches. She finally got down and is being so active even though is dark out there… she’s climbing over the rocks and playing with bamboo while Bai Yun is resting quietly.. My question is.. do they spend the whole night out there in the exhibit?? Do the keepers take them inside their bedrooms later at night? Does anybody know the answer?? Thanks!

  98. susan b says:

    I came home late from work today and the first thing I did, and always do, is check out my baby bears! Tonight Tai was cradled with his Mom amongst the rocks in the inside exhibit area. As I watched, Tai woke up and started to tumble about, playing with his paws. Mei must have been really tired because she did not respond as Tai would bump into her. Oh, so cute! Now he has fallen asleep as only he can do…within seconds. Amazing! He can be so active and then so at peace. Su Lin is still at play next to her Mom. I wish I had her energy. What lovely babies…and how lucky we are to be able to experience this little bit of their lives.

  99. Emily says:

    To 93: Yes, it’s accurate, I read it in the news today.

    To 94: According to the Wolong panda reserve website, Hua Mei’s first set of twins are called ‘Mei Qiao’ and ‘Mei Lian’. Apparently, the cubs were named by a group of SDZ staff while they were visiting the reserve back in June.

  100. Cécile says:

    I learned from various sources that the two pandas have in fact names. The male panda (Hua Mei’s son) is called ” Xiaoguaiguai” which means ” little darling” while the female panda’s name is ” Huangmao Yatou,” which translates as ” chit of a girl.”

    Indeed all the candidates got a name. Since the pandas selected will be renamed, the Wolong staff use numbers instead of names in the selection process.

  101. EchoLee says:

    I just checked the vote web for the young couple; the top pair is ” tuan tuan ” and ” yuan yuan” , means together (like a family), this is only for their childhood temporarily, when they move to TAIWAN, they will be renamed by Taiwanese. It said they will land there in June. ” Tuan tuan” is HUA MEI’s son, he already has a name (DA HUA SHENG), why rename again and again, I don’t get it.

    Anyway, I think it’s great if they can become a bridge between mainland and Taiwan; don’t forget LING LING and XING XING also went to US for friendship and peace. Furthermore people in Taiwan can go to see pandas anytime they want, no need to go to mainland or states, is that not great? especially for kids. I believe they will be taken good care of by Taiwanese. I heard the zoos which may accept the pandas have prepared a long time for these treasures. The problem is the government“““political“`you know“`

  102. Lilly says:

    Hua Mei’s first twins are named Hua Ling and Mei Ling, combination of mother (Hua Mei) and father (Ling Ling)’s names. Hao Yun is the name of one of the second twins, meaning ‘Good Luck’.

    Two cubs that are chosen to be sent to Taiwan are just so adorable. Although Taiwan government has not yet decided if they will accept the panda gift, two zoos in Taiwan are applying to the government for housing pandas. I do worry about these two cubs’ future – does Taiwan have enough fresh bamboo? Will it be too hot there? Do staff know how to take good care of pandas?……I actually wish that the gift gets rejected so our favorite Hua Mei’s son and his girlfriend can happily and safely live in their homeland.

  103. Kay says:

    #19 and #16 are temporary names until after the naming contest. They had nicknames before, but now the Chinese government is encouraging everyone to submit name proposals, and I think the final names will be decided after the Chinese New Year. Because the girl was the only girl born last year, she was the obvious winner. #19 and #21 are Hua Mei’s twin boys last year and were the final two choices. In the end, the girl chose #19 over #21 because she appeared to get along with #19 better. One of the articles was very cute and described that ” when it comes to love, there is no brotherhood” so #19 beat his brother! I saw a picture on a Chinese website showing #19, only couple of months old, standing next to Hua Mei’s face! Hua Mei appeared to be smiling and quite happy!

    I think the Chinese government will send the pandas to Taiwan in September, after they turn 2 years old.

  104. sweet girl says:

    I wish I could bring it to my home. So sweet panda.

  105. Debbie says:

    If you search for ” panda taiwan” one of the results returned will show an article from the People’s Daily in China. It’s very interesting and shows the panda keepers in Wolong do form bonds with their charges, despite the huge number of babies being born. Apparently, the two do have names but they are trying to involve the people in Taiwan in choosing new names for them.

    I loved what it had to say about Hua Mei. ” Xiaoguaiguai comes from gentlefolk. His mother is the well-known returned America-born giant panda beauty Hua Mei. As the eldest son of Hua Mei, the boy not only possesses good physique, but also inherits a pretty look from his mother. ”

    The female is from wild panda stock, including a mum who managed to bring her up despite having lost one arm in an attack!

  106. Candy Coleman says:

    #78..WHAT FUN!!! I need everyone to wait until I change the linens and start growing the bamboo though. Bring your own pillows!! Maybe we could get OUR pandas back from China too. Good grief…I’ve gotten myself into a tizzy!! LOL

  107. Marcia says:

    I have become a die-hard panda cam fan. These animals are not only adorable but fascinating, the more I learn about them. My son asks me why I like pandas so much and I tell him they’re not just cute but endangered and rare and just very interesting animals. I find it interesting that in San Diego there is a strict ” quiet” policy when viewing the pandas (which I have the great fortune of doing) whereas in Washington there are screaming kids, talking adults, flashing cameras and a major construction job going on all around the panda mom and cub. This doesn’t seem to phase them in the least. I will continue to watch and hope to get to San Diego soon to see Su Lin up close!

  108. Eugena says:

    # 105 Debbie:, the girl panda that is picked up to go to Taiwan has a great mom, who lost one arm. But how great motherhood can be! The three-armed mom did a great job raising the little girl. Can you imagine she raised the girl all by herself? The heroic mom is reported to be very independent, self-reliant. Her baby girl inherited her personality and is more strong-willed and tougher than her boyfriend, Hua Mei’s people-oriented son who likes to play with humans a lot.

  109. Eugena says:

    BTW: the heroic mom is a rescued wild panda.

  110. Cathy Nguyen says:

    I love the photos of the two Pandas picked to go to Taiwan. They are very, VERY CUTE! I hope that all conflicts between the two governments are put to a permanent rest because I really worry about the well-beings of these two adorable bears.

  111. Sayuri says:

    Candidate 21 has a really cute face. His dad is Ling Ling, but mom is someone named Gong Zhu. So, the boys are half brothers.

    With the way both parties are acting, Miss Sweet Little Sixteen and Mr. Hey Nineteen may spend years in Wolong, but I wish kids in Taiwan, both young and not-so-young, get to see real pandas soon. Anyway, I’m happy that I got to see so many photos and videos of cute pandas.

  112. Barbara says:

    Before the zoos here could get pandas from China, we had to abide by strict regulations to build suitable habitats. Hopefully, the criteria also extended to the feeding, veterinary skills, and all things considered for the general well-being of happy, healthy pandas. Surely the Chinese would set the same criteria for Taiwan. If not, I’m not in favor of them going to Taiwan either. . . but, I guess we don’t get a vote. 😉

    I just pray that they will be in expert hands there, such as they are here.

  113. susan b says:

    After I had read all the comments about the possible gift of two pandas to Taiwan I went on a search for text and photos. There are a lot of photos on of Hua Mei’s twin boy, #19, and of Su Lin and Tai Shan. The site is entitled ” China-Taiwan relations on Yahoo! News Photos”

  114. Ann cooper says:

    I am so glad she is getting bigger and cuter. Hope all is well for her. Hope I can see her live in Feb. when I’ll be down there.

  115. Gloria says:

    Chinadaily online (english version) published lovely pictures of Su Lin. Search ” panda” and see ” Panda cub on show at US zoo” dated 05-12-31. so cute !

  116. Cathy Nguyen says:

    Bai Yun just helped the little Princess off the tree! I am amazed at how fast Su Lin is getting around now!

  117. L.K. says:

    Is there any way to slow down the time-lapse even just a tiny bit? I just missed Su Lin climbing down from the tree, darn! …and thank you for taking such great care of our pandas…your love and hard work shows!

  118. Jody says:

    I was just wondering why there hasn’t been a video of Su Lin’s check up this week? Don’t you know that I live for these little snippits?

  119. Mary Ann says:

    Tonight I got to see something so wonderful. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be one of the caretakers of these wonderful animals and see these things everyday…..

    When I tuned in Su Lin was ” up a tree” , and mamma seemed to be circeling over and over in a very ” worried” manner, as I was sitting here saying out loud ” oh no! don’t you fall off that branch little girl!” Seems Mamma and I were both worried, because it wasn’t long before she climbed up the branch herself to gently help Su Lin down to where she could crawl safely down the trunk. It was so cute to see her pick her up in her two arms like a human would! Then off they went to the bedroom where Bai Yun seemed to be scolding her for climbing so high! Of course that is just my interpretation….. 🙂 Love them, just love them!

  120. Liz Morrison says:

    I was unable to see Su Lin and her mom live on Fri. Jan. 6th, so, when I went back to look at the day’s activity, I thought I saw Su Lin take a flying leap from off the rock to her mom who was sitting eating bamboo. Her mom caught her but was very surprised. Did this really happen or did my eyes deceive me?? The time of this ” leap” was late afternoon/early evening. I’ve looked at this footage no less that 10 times to see if I was seeing things correctly. Please tell me if my eyes were right. Thanks, Liz Morrison

  121. watcher says:

    to #120: The pictures you saw could be real (but there might be missed images, so you see Su is flying:). I saw many times when Tai Shan and his mum Mei are staying together at the slope of the hill at the exhibit area, Tai likes to step back a little, then rush to Mei to push her. Mei is just sitting there to wait for him. That’s really silly.

  122. Cathy G. (L.A.) says:

    Reading all of these wonderful comments is good for the soul. I’m sitting here at 1:43 AM, before going to sleep, chuckling while looking at what people said about when Su Lin needed help from Mom to get down from the tree. Aren’t we all lucky to be part of this?! I’m curious about the types of bamboo we’ll have to grow, too, if we start a panda nursery. Arrow is one kind they apparently like. I wonder what the others are?

  123. kelvin says:

    Comment 102

    You don’t have to worry about all those questions. Taipei Zoo, one of the most aggresive zoos in Taiwan applying for raising the panda couple, has sent their staff to SDZ and NZ to study the technique of taking care of pandas, and the panda exhibit under construction would have a 24-hour air-conditioned indoor exhibit.

  124. Kay says:

    Despite China’s political motive, calling these cute little pandas ” an insult to Taiwan” is simply unwise. I hope the little kids and panda maniacs in Taiwan will get the chance to enjoy watching these lovely animals. If not, anyone in the US will welcome them with super warm arms. 🙂

    Pandas are also very smart! I remember when I was little (about 20 years ago), we could still see pandas performing in the circus. They could ride bicycles, dance around, and perform all sorts of sophisticated moves. Later, the government no longer allowed pandas to perform because they are too precious to endure the harsh training. But I hope I can still find such video tapes somewhere.

  125. Christine says:

    To #5: We too are fascinated by the comparative developmental milestones of Su and Tai, and as a longtime NZP-goer, perhaps some of my observations might speak to your questions: 1) First, as dog breeders of 7 generations and over 100 litters, I can tell you that there is an absolute correlation between size and how many days it takes puppies to reach the standing milestone. It’s always the tiniest little girls who stand first, and who briefly get to lord it over their heavier, barge-like siblings! Tai Shan is huge, and I lovingly remember NZP’s Lisa Stevens writing that the staff couldn’t imagine him raising his pear-shaped rear end off the ground any time soon. I’ll bet Su Lin was standing and walking at an earlier age, in addition to climbing sooner. 2) It’s winter here in the East, and Tai wasn’t allowed outside at all until he was 5.5 months old; in fact, he’s still only been out about 12 days in total. Where Su had that great little pole up to her sleeping platform to practice on, Tai has no vertical climbing structure inside. Keepers and curators must have noticed this, because their outdoor ” cub-proofing” included metal sleeves on all trees to prevent Tai’s climbing more than 3 feet! As a result, even outside, his practice on vertical structures is still limited. 3) There’s no doubt that inherited behaviors play a role in an animal’s preferences, but I’m not sure I would say that Tian doesn’t like to climb. I think it’s more his preference–which Tai seems to be demonstrating too–to drape himself in a spread-out way on limbs to sleep. It also just so happens that his outdoor yard has a series of dead limbs intertwined almost like a hammock, about5 feet off the ground, near the front of his yard that accommodates this perfectly. I think he climbs less because this more-suited option is available for rest.

    We find it fascinating that the cubs are just like small children who reach different physical and mental milestones at different times. A child who walks early may not speak until later, and so on. Su Lin is much more advanced with her gross motor skills, while Tai shows much more advancement with toy play and with the social play he’s long had with Mei. Why these skills? Mei, perhaps because she’s half Bai’s age and is a first-time mom, provides Tai with almost limitless social play, and Tai also has a tub, spool, ball, kong, and boxes. It’s fascinating to see his mind working as he plays with his toys, and I can already see how this will serve to keep him curious and interested and happily occupied later on in life. [That is, give him more to enjoy in life than his dad, who only wants ” more and more” food!) Perhaps my ultimate point here is that, physical size issues notwithstanding, it’s the environment provided that has largely determined Su’s and Tai’s strengths and milestones so far: Who knows what might have happened if Su had had more play opportunities or Tai had had more vertical-climbing experience? Even more interesting: What might have happened had each cub had BOTH sets of chances in full measure?

    Thank you, San Diego, for taking such good care of all of your beloved pandas! We from afar treasure them too! I’m completely in love with Gao Gao, and of course I feel that he doesn’t get nearly enough credit or exposure on the webcam! Given the fact, too, that Su and Tai are first cousins and that Su had equal chance to inherit her grandfather Pan-Pan’s genes for enormous size, perhaps we should be giving Gao Gao his due credit for her sweet, small frame!

  126. Gloria says:

    To Liz Morrison (comment 120) : Su Lin didn’t fly, she was on the horizontal tree trunk but it was very dark and we can almost not see the trunk. Then she came down and 2 minutes later, she was in mom’s arm and Bai Yun cuddled her.

  127. Margot says:

    Thanks to everyone who provided information on stories about Hua Mei’s son. He is just adorable, as is his mate-to-be. I loved reading that one Chinese zoologist said they were ” a perfect match” and ” pretty much in love.” Can’t believe Bai Yun’s grandson is going off to start his own family. The staff at SDZ should be so proud that their outstanding, loving care of Bai Yun and all the pandas has resulted in this happy event.

  128. Linda Swenson says:

    Liz, #120, I had to see for myself. Sure looks like a flying leap into mom’s dinner at about 18:45 on the time-lapse footage for 1/6/2006. Our little angel has wings?!

  129. Elle says:

    Liz (#120) and Linda (#128), I also watched the time lapsed footage on 1/6/06 and it really does look like Su Lin leaped into Bai Yun’s arms! This made me smile! Can Suzanne or any of the wonderful panda team members confirm this? Su Lin amazes me. Tai was cracking me up earlier today….he loves his toys!

  130. Holly says:

    Wow Christine (#125)! Very well written. I enjoyed your post tremendously. Thank-you SDZ web peoples for passing it along. I sure love all ‘my’ pandas. I just discovered 3 more in Mexico City Zoo (Chapultepec) last evening. All were apparently born there and are all over 10 yrs old. I’m sure there’s much more to learn about them when I have the time to dig. Pandas in Mexico? Sounds weird, really. Good morning to all and have a great day!

  131. Cathy Nguyen says:

    Good morning to all Panda lovers and SDZ staff,

    I’ve just read the government of Taiwan is unlikely to accept the pair of Pandas from Mainland China. This is under the news headline ” Pandas for Peace” . Premier Frank Hsieh of Taiwan said the deal was unlikely to happen, ” We cannot compromise our sovereignty,” he told reporters at a Taipei business conference. ” The likelihood of the pandas coming to Taiwan is pretty low.”

    I just saw a glimpse of my favorite Panda Mei Sheng as he sits and munches on a piece of bamboo! I haven’t seen him in a while! Is Tuesday of this week his turn to be on the exhibit? If that is so, that means Friday I will get to see Mei Sheng on the Panda Cam 🙂

    Thank you SDZ staff for doing such a wonderful job caring and loving these adorable beings!

    Wishing everyone a great day!

  132. Cheryl Sills says:

    Is Bai Yun doing OK? Maybe it’s just my imagination, but she seems put off with all of the people around her. Is she just being a protective mother?

  133. Bernice says:

    I find it so endearing…little Su loves to curl up to nap on the forked branch slightly above the ‘branch platform’, where mom is usually sprawled for her nap. This is just what big brother Mei Sheng loved to do…snooze happily up in the branch, not too far away from mommy.

  134. Christine says:

    To #130, Holly: Thank you for your kind words!

    PS to all: NZP just announced that the manufacturer of Tai’ s black tub has given him a series of new tubs in different sizes. For those of us who love seeing the chubby cubby in a tubby, this means our days of enjoying those images won’t be coming to an end when he (all-to-soon) outgrows his current tub! I personally consider this as much a present to all of us as it is a 6-month-anniversary present for Tai Shan!

  135. Linda Swenson says:

    Thank you to the Panda Cam videographer for capturing the closeup noon struggle of mom trying to pull an unwilling Su Lin out of the tree. Bai won the battle in the end.

  136. Cuquis says:

    Wow, I just saw Bai Yun take Su Lin off the branch she was resting on. That was so nerve racking, I thought Su Lin would fall because she seemed not wanting to get off.. But Bai Yun was decided and took her down to ground level. Go Bai Yun, you know best.

  137. Cathy Nguyen says:

    I just saw that Su Lin has a toy in the exhibit, it’s that big thread-spindle like thing. Tai Shan has one as well:) Today is Tai Shan’s 6th month birthday. Thinking on that I think I missed celebrating Su Lin’s 5th month birthday on January 2nd! 🙁 Well, she’s doing very well and is getting so much stronger everyday! I wish that they can stay babies for a while longer. That way we can prolong the time when they will have to be sent back to China. Wish we could keep all the Pandas here! We all love them so very much!

  138. cuquis says:

    Mhh Bai Yun seems anxious.. is she waiting for her meal?? seems that she keeps walking over little su lin every minute.. =(

  139. Suzanne says:

    My daughter was doing some online research on the San Diego site last night into pandas (what else?!!). I noticed in one place that captive pandas live 14-20 years. Since Bai Yun was born in 1991 – wow! I’m wondering what SD hopes/plans for her as far as another cub? She would be probably 16 years old at that point (giving Su Lin her 1 1/2 years with momma). Or, are pandas (unlike people) able to bear (couldn’t resist) young until …? Thanks!

    Editor’s note: Per Suzanne Hall, it is now believed that wild pandas live about 14 to 20 years; pandas in managed care can live up to 30 years of age.

  140. Linda Swenson says:

    #39, Don’t worry, the lifespan is closer to 25 years. Mei Mei lived to 36 in captivity.