I have lived in San Diego for years and thought I knew what time of year the weather was about to change. Well, this year I don’t have a clue as to what season we are in. One week we are having a cold snap, then the next time you listen to the news we are having a heat wave!
I have to think about how the giant pandas at the San Diego Zoo feel with these changes. I wear layers, just in case the weather changes. How do the pandas do in this weather swing? Believe it or not, they do well. The keepers at the Zoo’s Giant Panda Research Station closely watch the temperature and will change what they need when the time comes to do that. Did you know the pandas have air conditioned bedrooms? That coat is just so thick, so cold air is a good thing for them.
Su Lin (pictured) really doesn’t seem to care about the weather; she is content to sleep, eat, and play with mom no matter what. Still clinging to her tree more than mom, she continues to grow and make all of us want to see more of her awake so we can get the perfect photo moment with her. I can’t believe that she is almost on her own; mom will start to get pushy with her in just a few more months and she will be independent. It’s hard to think she is almost 18 months old. We will still have her here for at least another year, so she will still be seen and loved as she grows.
What a cute bear Su Lin is. She was playing the other day on the climbing structure when her mom started scent anointing; Su Lin sat and watched Bai Yun, then started to do just what mom was doing. It looked like Bai Yun had a tiny shadow doing the same thing. Su Lin watches, then does the same action. What is scent anointing? I’m glad you asked! It’s when the bear takes its paws and pulls chips of bark or other material off to rub the scent on their bodies. So much fun to watch Bai Yun as she pulls the scent of bark over her body. So baby bear does the same actions and enjoys smelling like pine bark.
Su Lin loves to roll in the dirt in the den. Bai will get wet, then wander over to the den and roll in the dry dirt. Su Lin will follow her and soon we have two bears rolling and enjoying the moments of just being dirty bears. We enjoy the moments as well.
What will the weather be like next week? Who knows! I do know that Bai Yun and her cub, Su Lin, will be there to greet you when you come. Remember, Su Lin sleeps many hours in her tree, so be prepared to stay awhile with us, visiting other animals and then checking back to see who’s awake for the moment.
Do we really care what the weather is? No, we are so fortunate to have these beautiful bears in our backyard. Come enjoy, relax, and see the animals.
Kay Ferguson is a panda narrator at the San Diego Zoo.
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