Archive for 2007

A Happy Reunion and New Friends

Posted at 2:48 pm December 27, 2007 by Angie Fiore

Panda keeper Angie Fiore and her husband traveled to China last month. One of the stops on their itinerary was the Wolong Nature Reserve. She shares her story with us.

 Mei Sheng at WolongSome days, 6 a.m. doesn’t come early enough! This was the day I was looking forward to since our sweet boy, Mei Sheng, left. Today I would meet Dr. Tang, head veterinarian at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, Wolong Nature Reserve, who would take me to see my old friend. Yes, I was in China and at Wolong.

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The Case of the Missing Meerkat

Posted at 11:18 am December 26, 2007 by Laura Weiner

As a keeper, one of the first things we do when we arrive every morning is count our animals. We check on them to make sure everyone is accounted for and looks healthy. When you are a meerkat keeper, you have to wait for the sun to come up to see everyone. They all huddle down in their burrows when it is cold and do not emerge until there is some sun to warm their bellies.

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Lion Cubs Meet Lion Cubs

Posted at 1:15 pm December 21, 2007 by Marcia Redding

As you lion fans know, Oshana and Mina’s litters are very close in age: only four days apart. By the time the cubs were a few days old, all seven cubs plus their moms have had access to each other through a mesh panel. Lots of visiting has been going on. Mina and Oshana, who are sisters, have been happy to be able to socialize with each other again; there has been much rubbing and affectionate greeting behavior going on. The cubs have been fascinated with each other as well; Mina’s three and Oshana’s four have spent lots of time looking at each other through the screen.

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Reaching New Heights

Posted at 12:51 pm December 21, 2007 by Suzanne Hall

 Zhen 12-21-07Little Zhen Zhen showed real initiative yesterday. While in the classroom exhibit with her mother, she climbed up several structures to a height she had not achieved before. About eight feet off the ground in a climbing structure, Zhen spent a few minutes looking about from her new perch before settling down for a nap.

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Snow for the Big Cats

Posted at 3:51 pm December 19, 2007 by Kym Nelson

 lion with snowmanThe holiday season brings some new attractions to the Wild Animal Park as we celebrate with the Festival of Lights. The ever-popular Snow Hill is a hit with many guests, especially the little ones, and all that snow gave us the opportunity for a novel enrichment weekend. Thanks to the efforts of the Park’s Education Department and the Conservation Corps (an education program for students) some of the animals at the Park also got to experience the snow! The lions, tigers, and cheetahs were all exposed to a little taste of winter, and their reactions were interesting to observe.

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Too Zhen Zhen!

Posted at 12:36 pm December 19, 2007 by Ellie Rosenbaum

 Zhen and Bai 12-07As 4 1/2 month-old panda Zhen Zhen spends more and more time out in the great outdoors with her mother, Bai Yun, and less time inside in her den, she grows stronger and more coordinated. And it gets closer to the time that she’ll be introduced to all of us! She is still a young cub, however, and this introduction, as with those of her siblings, must be a gradual process, comfortable for both cub and mother. To this end, I was able to spend some time observing her this morning, speaking softly over a microphone as a panda narrator to help acclimate her to the sound as ambient noise in her outdoor environment. (more…)

Farewell, Wolong

Posted at 5:27 pm December 18, 2007 by Lisa Martin

Giant panda Mei Sheng moved to Wolong, China on November 5, 2007. Lisa Bryant of the San Diego Zoo accompanied him on his journey and has shared the trip through blog installments. See Lisa’s previous blog, Mei Sheng on His Own.

Hello again. I’m glad so many of you were able to share in the details of Mei Sheng’s journey to the Wolong Giant Panda Research Center last month. Although I experienced pride, anxiety at times, joy, and a wee bit of sorrow during the trip, it was not “all work and no play.” On the day following the good bye’s to our sweet boy Mei Sheng I had a “free” day of sorts. There were no animal moves planned, no ceremonies to attend, and Mei Sheng was settled in at the Center’s quarantine facility.

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Shall I Compare Thee?

Posted at 2:49 pm December 17, 2007 by Suzanne Hall

 Zhen 12-12-07As the denning phase comes to a close, we have been looking back at the last few months to develop a more complete picture of the interactions between Zhen Zhen and her mother. It can be hard, in the moment, to answer questions like: what is this cub like? And, what is Bai Yun doing differently? Although we can get a flavor of the situation inside the den, when we look at the data we have collected we can really see the differences and similarities between this year and our previous years with cubs born.

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Rainy Days Just Aren't the Same…

Posted at 3:58 pm December 7, 2007 by Ellie Rosenbaum

…since “our boy,” Mei Sheng, has gone away. We’re all delighted that he’s adjusting so well to his new home, but we all miss him. So, it appears, does Su Lin. She cruises around the exhibit from time to time, pausing at the introduction gate, the door to which is now closed, sniffing and looking, peering and investigating, as if looking for her brother and “fence buddy.” And we’ve not seen the same level of romping and stomping these last two rainy days. Today she spent the morning eating and dozing in the tree through the intermittent showers; last week she did the same through a torrential downpour. Perhaps it’s just not as much fun to climb and hang in the trees without another panda to view in the neighboring area, or with rain occurring regularly, it may not have the same novelty/enrichment appeal that it did.

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Mei Sheng on His Own

Posted at 12:09 pm December 6, 2007 by Lisa Martin

Giant panda Mei Sheng moved to Wolong, China on November 5, 2007. Lisa Bryant of the San Diego Zoo accompanied him on his journey and is sharing the trip with us through blog installments. See Lisa’s previous blog, Mei Sheng’s Welcome at Wolong.

 Mei Sheng in WolongWhen Mei Sheng’s welcome ceremony was finished, we took him to the Wolong facility’s hospital where he’d spend the night. He got to come out of the crate and sleep in a bedroom tonight. He left his crate and wandered up the chute to the bedroom where he would stay until the next morning. I slept better that night, I think. Mei Sheng had to make one more trip into the crate to go to the quarantine facility where he and Scott (his Wolong keeper) would become very familiar for the next 30 to 45 days.

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