Mei Sheng, Our Precious Cargo

Posted at 4:35 pm November 19, 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.

 Mei Sheng on cargo planeI’m back, everyone. It’s me, Lisa Bryant, team area lead for Sun Bear Forest, Polar Bear Plunge, and (what I’m really here to talk about!) the Giant Panda Research Station at the San Diego Zoo. As you all know, on November 5 we transported our 4-year-old panda, Mei Sheng, to the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, Wolong Nature Reserve. His older half-sister, Hua Mei, already resides there and has been quite prolific since her arrival. However, Mei Sheng, being a slightly more sensitive animal, gave many pause about how he’d handle the trip. I’m here to tell you that he traveled like a champ! All the hard work that the keeper staff put into his preparation really paid off.

It started with the 2 a.m. crate time for our boy. We were all up bright and early and, thankfully, so was Sheng. We worked together to get Mei Sheng crated, on the truck comfortably, and away (see previous blog, Mei Sheng’s Journey Begins). We needed to be on the road to the Los Angeles airport (LAX) about 3 a.m. to check in with the customs agents and make our plane. Once ready, the keepers opened the slider leading into his crate like they had done so many days before in preparation for the big day. Without hesitation, Mei Sheng walked into the crate and awaited his reinforcement treats. The crate door was closed behind him while he polished off his apple, carrot, and yam medley with not so much as a glance. Keepers Angie and Kathy had made him a little “goody bag” with bamboo leaves, some of the Wolong bread that he had been weaned on to, honey (always a favorite), and a whole bag of leaf eater biscuits that would last well beyond our trip. Though many of the organic items were not going to be permitted into China, they did get as far as LAX. Water and three containers filled with things for the trip went the distance: trash bags, cleaning tools, gloves, shredded paper, and little boxes for enrichment that fit perfectly through his crate’s access door. A couple of his favorite PVC pipe enrichment toys were making the journey with him and would stay with him in China.

He spent much of the road trip sleeping; it was still very dark, after all! As with many animal flight arrangements, there is a little lag time between check in and boarding. Mei Sheng spent his time finishing his breakfast and resting. When it was time to board, he traveled via forklift into the warehouse like it was an everyday occurrence. We got him strapped onto his traveling pallet, along with his luggage, and onto the 747 cargo plane (pictured above). There were only four seats in the upstairs portion of the plane; we could see directly into the cockpit. The seats were only a few steps away from the stairway that we used whenever we wanted to go check up on our precious cargo. In flight, it was obvious that any anxiety I had for Mei Sheng’s comfort was unfounded. Again he slept comfortably, ate when there was food offered, and drank plenty of water. Periodically I’d fill one of the cardboard boxes with shredded paper and hide some leaf eater biscuits inside. He delighted in ripping open the box and sifting through the paper for the hidden surprise. I cleaned his crate and crate tray as needed. Toward the end of his flight he received the PVC “capsule” item with biscuits inside. He took that from me through the top access door with an expression on his face I can only anthropomorphically equate to “Cool, you brought toys.” He proceeded to roll it around and biscuits would fall out intermittently; he didn’t miss eating one biscuit!

From LAX to a fuel stop in Anchorage, Alaska, and right into Shanghai, China, our boy was very calm. I was reminded of the giant panda’s ability to charm us human folk. The pilots took turns visiting Mei Sheng with us. Throughout the flight they continued to ask how the temperature was in the hold for Sheng (it was a comfy 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit or 18 to 21 degrees Celsius): Not too hot, not too cold for a panda. Stating how cool it was to be so close to something so special, each pilot remarked during their visits at how surprised they were by his calm nature, how gently he took food from my hand, how slow and deliberate his movements. One at a time they took turns (someone had to fly the plane!). As we flew into Shanghai, an abundance of lights shone from the ground. The pilots informed me that it was not ground at all but the lights from fishing boats on the water. Lots of fishing boats. We were preparing to land in Shanghai, the second stop on Mei Sheng’s journey.

Lisa Bryant is a team area lead at the San Diego Zoo. She will share more about her journey in future blogs, as we want all the details!

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86 Responses to “Mei Sheng, Our Precious Cargo”

  1. Peggy says:

    Lisa, thank you so much for the details of Mei Sheng’s flieght to China. I am so happy he did well, a lot of us saw on CCTV his arrival, the turning over ceremony, some of your interview and finally Mei Sheng in his enclosure at Wolong. He is a trooper and a special bear, I know he will do well there and hopefully in the spring we will hear that he is a daddy.

    We are all sad he had to leave and will miss him, but you all did a fantastic job with him and trained him for his journey, now he will be represented in the future of Pandas survival.

    Again thanks to each and everyone of you at SDZ that works with Panda’s day in and day out, we are the lucky ones here in San Diego to be able to see these precious animals even if it for a short time, I for one never miss an opportunity to come see them and I am always amazed by them and what you do for them.

    A job well done SDZ and thank you again Lisa looking forward to the rest of Mei Shengs journey.

  2. Helen says:

    Thank you very much Lisa. We have all been waiting anxiously to hear about Mei Sheng. We will be looking forward to more news about the rest of his trip to Wolong.

  3. Karen C. says:

    Oh Lisa, thank you so much for all the details. I’m so relieved to know Mei Sheng’s flight went so well. Looking forward to more details to come I hope 🙂

  4. Jane McKechnie says:

    Lisa, thank you for taking such good care of Mei Sheng. It was wonderful the way you and the panda keepers prepared him for his trip. I am happy he had his apple, yam and carrot medley. You also provided him with his favorite toys. One can sense the love and caring for this very special boy.

  5. KJ says:

    Thanks Lisa for the great update! I can only imagine how busy you have been and how difficult it was to say your final goodbye’s to Mei Sheng so the update is much appreciated! Glad to hear that he was so calm on the long journey to Shanghai. I’m sure this was a flight and experience those pilots will never forget! Keep up the great work and any pictures from the journey and taken in China would be awesome to see!

    Thanks, KJ

  6. Bobbie Wood says:

    Dear Lisa!

    Thank You for writing about Mei Sheng’s flight! You and the SDZ staff are remarkable people and Mei Sheng is one remarkable ‘jet-setter’. Many of us checked out news sites and were fortunate to see not only photos of Mei Sheng at arrival; we saw video also. Although we couldn’t understand one word of the language, we saw the loving care he was given. I look forward to your next posting; I know you will give us the written ‘picture’ ( as in 1000 words 🙂 ) of the time you were at Wolong with Mr Born in the USA now ambassador. Thank you so much!


    Bobbie Wood

  7. Chari Mercier says:

    Hey, Lisa!! Welcome back and thanks for your comments about your trip to China with Mei Sheng! Been waiting for this for quite awhile! Sounds like you all had a very uneventful trip over there, and Mei Sheng was just enjoying the ride. Your preps to get him ready for the trip were outstanding, and Mei showed everyone how cool this trip was gonna be for him. He’s always been a real trooper when he’s trying new things anyway, so he just sat back and let everybody pamper him. He loves all the attention and the love that everyone has given him. Apparently, sleeping was no problem for him either! I wonder if he had jet lag after about a 20 hour flight? Did all of you humans have jet lag? Been there, done that myself! Flew to South Korea back in 1973, and it took me about a day or two for me to get in sink with the new time zone!

    Well, gonna go and get back on the pandacam to see what Bai and baby girl are up to. Looking forward for more comments about your time in Wolong, China, and how Mei Sheng adapted to his new surroundings. I know you all did alot of crying coming home, tho, and that you all miss him alot!

    Chari Mercier 🙂

    St. Pete, FL

    Who went with you to China? Let us know about that on your next blog, ok? Thanks!

    Moderator’s note: A veterinarian and an animal care manager from the San Diego Zoo also accompanied Mei Sheng.

  8. Bobbie Wood says:

    Hello again Lisa,

    Could you tell us which Province in China Wolong Panda Preserve is in? I just checked the weather at Wolong, China and there are several Wolongs 🙂 If Mei Sheng is in Siechwan (I’ve mis-spelled this), It will rain there this evening (Their local time). Let us know so we can check the weather forecast daily, okay?


    Bobbie Wood

    Moderator’s note: The Wolong Panda Preserve is in Sichuan Province.

  9. Eva says:

    Thank you for the update, Lisa! Looking forward for more updates once you’ve settled down.

  10. Mary from SF says:

    Oh, my. Reading this is like starting a novel I’ve been anxiously awaiting! It is heartwarming how well everyone prepared Mei Sheng for his journey and how well he did. Kudos to all of you.

    I’ll be waiting patiently for your next exciting chapter! (Well, okay, that’s sort of a lie. Impatiently is more like it 🙂 )

  11. Cheryl says:

    Sounds like a first class flight all the way – with very attentive flight attendants, gourmet food, in-flight entertainment – and even visits from the pilot! I would expect nothing less for our superstar Mei. Can’t wait for the next installment… thank you so much the update – it again brought tears to my eyes – but such happy ones – knowing how much he is cherished and cared for.

  12. Candy in Iowa says:

    Lisa – Thanks so much for this 1st installment! We’ve been awaiting word from you and appreciate you taking the time to tell us about Mei Sheng’s big adventure. It sounds like he dealt with the 1st part of the trip like a real trooper. I’m sure the whole ordeal was much harder on you!

    I look forward to the next installent! Thanks again, Lisa!!

  13. Lynda in Michigan says:

    what a WONDERFUL entry!! You are all such special, special people and take such wonderful care of your precious charges! Thank you so much for this 1st part of our precious boys journey to the ” mother land” .

    Thank you for the details of the flight and the visits you gave your precious bear! Oh to have been in the position of those pilots and have the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful animal as you all have over the last 4 years – up close and personal!!

    I can’t wait for your next entry and all the details of the remainder of the trip. I hope you will also tell us about your days in Wolong with Sheng and how he is getting along. Thank you, thank you! You guys ROCK!!!

  14. Karen in Pasadena says:


    Thank you SO much for sharing your travel diary with Mei Sheng. He’s wasn’t the only champ on that trip! Thanks for taking care of your precious boy. Hopefully I will be able to see him in China next year! 🙂 I look forward to your next diary ” installment” . xoxo

  15. Sara says:

    That’s so great that he had a comfortable trip. I can completely visualize him rolling around in glee as he ate his biscuits. Thank you for letting us have a peek into your special trip with Mei Sheng. I hope that he is doing well and that he is adjusting to his new surroundings.

  16. francie bowers says:

    Oh Lordy, this is just like waiting for next weeks ” Grey’s Anatomy” , can’t wait!

  17. Chari Mercier says:

    OK!! I have now seen it! Just got on the pandacam and saw baby girl sound asleep in the den. About a minute later, here comes momma Bai into the den, sniffs and checks out her daughter, then she grabs her baby by the neck and pulls her out of the den! What a wake up call for that baby!! To those of you that have seen this going on in the last week or so, I believe you now—for sure!! That was so cool when that happened! I pretty well knew that this was happening from what you all were writing about, but now I have seen this for myself tonite. Now, how long will Bai keep her baby girl out there with her? Hope someone is on that pandacam so that they can get another cam on them! I would love to know where Bai takes her baby to at nite! Wouldn’t that solve a neat mystery?? Oh well, I’ll keep checking pandacam to see if they are both back in the den or still outside.

    Luv yas,

    Chari Mercier 🙂

    St. Pete, FL

    PS: Have a very nice Thanksgiving to all of you panda lovers out there!!

  18. Cathy says:

    Thank you so much, Lisa, for the wonderful blog about ” our boy’s” journey. It brought tears to my eyes. The SDZ staff has done an amazing job in raising and training all the pandas. I’m glad Mei Sheng handled everything so well. I can’t wait to hear about the rest of his exciting adventure!

  19. annc1 says:

    It is great to hear Mei Sheng had a great trip. Sounds like you did too. Thanks for all your care.

  20. Barb in Surrey, BC says:

    Oh, thank you so much, Lisa, for that rundown on our little boy. I can just see his smiling face as he found the biscuits and tore through the paper hunting treats. My heart aches to see him….I hope they put him on camera in Wolong soon. He is such a gentle, dear bear…I also hope there aren’t any arguments with the other boys in his pen, once they release him from quarantine. He is beautifully trained and not used to rude or aggressive behavior. Keep us posted on what you hear about him, so we can be assured he is getting used to his new culture and atmosphere. I just know his progeny will be beautiful and smart, as he is.

  21. Kristi in Dallas says:

    Thank you Lisa for your blog about the trip with Mei Sheng. I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to inform Mei’s fans about his adventure. I’m looking forward to more to come! Again, THANKS!!!

  22. julie says:

    Thanks for the details of Mei Sheng’s trip. It must be so rewarding for the keepers to see how well he traveled. All their work paid off big time. Tell us more! We appreciate it! Congratulations to the entire Panda Team.

  23. Cathy in NW Indiana says:

    Hi Lisa, Is Pinging not allowed, even if it’s the name of one of the Panda Bears, currently living in the US? I sent a note that apparently was not allowed but I’ll try to rephrase it to make my meaning clear. I wanted to say the name of the male Panda at the National Zoo who is the proud papa of Tai (hope this makes it pas the gatekeepers). Anyway it seemed fitting to ask for ” more and more” of your stories which is what his name means in Chinese and that was what I was going for.

    Your eloquent report on your journey to Shanghai with our boy was a delight to read. I felt so lucky to have your detailed description to visualize how the trip went. I can just picture his face as you described how he reacted to seeing the toys. He is such a good boy. We are all so lucky to have you to reassure us that this was a smooth transition for him because it makes it easier for us. I look forward to the next episode in your travelogue.

    Moderator’s note: Pinging is not allowed.

  24. Kathi says:


    Thank you so much for the first update on Mei Sheng. It’s so comforting to read a first hand report on how well he traveled–that was a concern I think most of us had. Sounds like he was his regular laid back, no worries self all the way to Shanghai. 🙂 He must have gained a couple of pounds with all the goodies he got to munch on! He even charmed the pilots–not too surprising, he could charm anyone with that sweet personality of his.

    I’ll be so curious to hear how he’s getting along at Wolong. I hope he’s winning the hearts of everyone over there like he did here. I thought of you, especially near the end of your trip–one photo of you watching him in his crate in the back of a pickup was especially touching, as well as hearing your voice and seeing you in the videos with him, helping him through his transition. Thank you for taking such good care of our boy, Lisa..He’s certainly missed..

  25. Anna says:

    I’m glad you’re home even though you left Mei Sheng behind. I am new to SDZ Panda Cam and blogs. I have loved learning about the giant pandas and I have fallen in love with them all, especially the newest cub.

    Thank you for your narrative, and I look forward to further blogs about your experiences in China with Mei Sheng.

  26. Maureen in Michigan says:

    My dear Lisa – at last, what we all have been waiting so anxiously to read -Our beloved Mei Sheng’s big journey. You confirmed what we all hoped for – that because of his dedicated keepers & the extensive training all went well. Just imagine a panda that decides he’s not about to get in the crate an hour before departure!! He had such trust & knew you’d take care of him. It seemed like it was just another day for him – not knowing how many tears were being shed when we heard he was on his way to Wolong, Because of your foresight to bring some enrichment items he was calm & content. I can see him charming the pilots as you hand fed him.

    Will be waiting for the next installment. Many, many thanks again for your love & care as this beloved panda made his journey home.

  27. Joy :) says:

    Wow, Lisa… Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!! I savored every word as I read your blog. We have been waiting (patiently as possible) to hear all about the trip and how Sheng did. Thank you for sharing! I can’t wait to hear more. Until then, Welcome Home and enjoy the holiday with your loved ones.

    We have many reasons to be thankful; one of them being all the great people who make it possible to be entertained by the likes of Sheng et al.

    I’m grateful for your work with the animals!

    Love, Joy 🙂

  28. Susan Harrison says:

    Thank you Lisa for the 1st update installment. I know it must have been very hard for you to part with him! I saw your interview at Wolong on CCTV. I have to give all the panda staff much respect for how they handled parting with these precious pandas they helped raised. I would have broke down crying!

    I hope that Mei Sheng is happy there. He is forever my panda prince boy!

    Do you know how are Hua Mei and her kids doing? Also, when someone volunteers at Wolong, will they get the chance to see Hua Mei and Mei Sheng too? Thanks and God bless.

  29. Joanne says:

    How proud you must have been to see Mei Sheng handling the trip with ease,it is a credit to all the hard work that has been put in to his journey.Did you get to see Hua Mei? What a difficult day it must have been to finally leave him behind in China

  30. Shari says:

    Did you get to see Hua Mei? How is she doing? I’m so glad the trip to China went smoothly for Mei Sheng!


  31. Helen Rainier says:

    This entire journey for Mei has to have been very bittersweet for all of you — you’ve all worked so hard throughout Mei’s ” childhood” to prepare for this moment yet must wish there would be some way to hold back the hands of time. It is so comforting to hear how well Mei made the transition from ground borne to airborne bear. Thanks so much for sharing this first part of his journey to his homeland with all of us. I look forward to reading the next installment. It is a cathartic experience for all of us — from the staff at SDZ to all of us pandaholics who have watched first Hua Mei and now Mei Sheng make this big transition in their lives — and next Su Lin and little Bright Star.

  32. Marcia M from PA says:

    Thank you for this first post of your experience with Mei Sheng. What a comfort to know that he was in such loving care for his journey. I think it is a huge credit to you and to the whole Panda team at SDZ that Mei Sheng was such a calm, contented traveler. It just shows what a great job you all did – first in raising him and then in preparing him for his move.

    I look forward to the next ” installment” of your story.

    We miss you, Mei Sheng!

  33. Cathy G. (LA) says:

    Welcome back, Lisa! All the preparation that you and other SDZ stafff members did really paid off! Mei Sheng is such a special panda… if we didn’t know better we might think he’s an experienced traveller. LOL How nice to know that he was pleased when he saw that you ” brought toys!” Having a friend along that he knows well must have made a difference in how comfortable he was, even though flying is a new experience.

    Thanks for telling us about the trip so far. I’m looking forward to reading more about it when you have time.

  34. Jean says:

    Lisa..thanks for the update on Mei Sheng! Sounds like he made it just fine! I was sort of worried about that long trip but it seems all the training and planning that went into this move kept our boy just fine! I know you hated to see him go as we all did. Thanks for letting us know about him! I hope there will be more!

  35. Amanda says:

    Thank you for your narrative of Mei Sheng’s trip. He is such a beautiful boy, calm and sweet. I hope they treat him in China as well as you did in San Diego, with toys, biscuits, different treats and especially, with lots of love!

  36. Margot says:

    Thanks so much, Lisa, for taking the time to write such a detailed account of your journey to China with Mei Sheng. I could visualize him so clearly at the different stages of his trip–especially the look on his face when you gave him the toy. It sounds like everything went extremely well–which is a great comfort to all who love your ” precious cargo.” Thank you for explaining everything to us. Look forward to the next installment.

  37. barbara says:

    I wish to thank everyone who helped get our boy safetly to China. The keepers, all the people from China and the pilots who made sure that our precious cargo was comfortable. Mei we wil miss you everyday and you were a good boy on you travels, were are proud of you. Have a happy life beautiful boy.

  38. Nancy Yarmac says:

    WOW! Been waiting for all the news, and loved this ” teaser” . Tell us more!

  39. Sharon says:

    Thank you Lisa! I’m so glad you and Mei Sheng had such an easy trip. I’m sure it would have been much more difficult for you if our boy had been frightened or upset. All of you obviously did a great job getting him ready to travel. I look forward to hearing more about the adventures of Mei Sheng!

  40. Bernice says:

    Thank you so much, Lisa, for taking the time to update us on precious Mei Sheng. You and your colleagues put so much care and effort into making sure he had a good journey. Thank you again, and I can’t wait for your next instalment!!

  41. Terri from Sacramento says:

    Thank you Lisa for keeping us informed on Mei Sheng’s first plane flight to his new home. I found myself experiencing all the happenings from your wonderful description; Mei Sheng’s calmness, playing with the ‘toys’ and catching all the biscuits falling out of them, and the visits from the pilots. Great blog! It is a blessing you were with Mei Sheng to share and care for him during the journey.

    Everyone have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. We are all thankful for the capability to see, hear and read all that is happening at the San Diego Zoo!

  42. Debi in MA says:

    It is really wonderful to hear that he had a calm and enjoyable trip over to China. What a brave boy! And yes, toys are neat! It sounds like to did the best to prepare for everything and he appreciated it. That is such a good start to a new life! Thanks for sharing!

  43. Mae in NJ says:

    Thank you for the detailed description of your trip with Mei Sheng. You have reassured us that Mei Sheng was prepared well for the trip and you and the staff anticipated every possible way to make him comfortable.

    I hope that you and the other SDZ member did as well as he on the trip. Please release some photos when they are available. I look forward to reading your next blog. You are a great writer!

  44. Sammi in UK says:

    Thank you so very much for the first part of your blog. What a star he is! I am so happy that he handled that long journey like a professional. I wish that i could of been a fly on the journey to see what an amazing panda Mei Sheng is. China really do have one very special bear.

    I now eagerly await the next installment. I am so pleased that you have arrived safely back home again.

    I can imagine that you shed quite a few tears having to leave such an amazing handsome young man behind.

    I would think he now misses you too especially the sound of familiar voices.

    Will they continue to use his enrichment toys with him?

    Once again THANK YOU for posting some information on Mei Sheng as i know that there are many of us who have eagerly awaited news on our favourite panda.

  45. Ann says:

    Pheww, I’m so relieved that everything went well with our little champ. I’m so proud of him. Thanks for keeping us informed Lisa. I hope the Mei Sheng updates don’t stop here. Oh no, here comes the tears….

  46. Silvertip says:

    Thank you so much for the very detailed story. It makes me happy to know how content and well cared for he was. Also welcome back we are happy you had a safe trip also

  47. Darlene, Vancouver, BC says:

    Thankyou so much Lisa for your wonderful description of your trip with our beloved boy!, not to mention your love for him. It truly shows in your words… It is truly satisfying knowing that all of your training with him paid off and he had an uneventful trip to China. I can just see the Pilots coming back to check on him, I think that is so cool. He has affected a lot of people in a lot of different ways. I have been logging on I’m sure every few hours waiting for this exact post. So, once again thankyou.. All of you at the SDZ are truly an inspiration to all of us that watch these amazing animals…

  48. Cyndi says:

    Thank you for the travelogue! Sounds like Mei Sheng handled it like a pro. I look forward to hearing moe about his arrival!

    You guys are GREAT!

  49. Nancy in MN says:

    Ditto to what everyone else has said about your great update, Lisa – I’ve been checking the site every day for news. Mei may be out of sight, but he’s not out of mind (or heart ;-)!

  50. Widget says:

    It’s great to hear that Sheng did well on his journey. I was worried because I had read in the earlier blogs that Mei Sheng was a little apprehensive with new things. Knowing his next ” new thing” was a doozy, I was truly concerned with how he would do on the trip. I and everyone can relax a little bit now, knowing he did so well. Thank you for letting us know all about his and your adventure to China.

  51. Susan Kazula says:

    It’s fantastic to hear how well Mei Sheng has done on his long trip. I know he’s going to be happy – I’m sure that most of you have seen the pictures of his arrival on the Wolong Panda Cam, with all the people carrying panda banners.

    Best wishes to all the team looking after Mei and I know we’re all looking forward to the next instalment. I’m off to look at the little one now – is it me or is she really really trying to get those little back legs to support her?

    Love to everyone and all the animals.

  52. Candy Coleman says:

    I’m so glad our baby boy is safe on land (I hate air travel – too far to fall). Thanks for the excellent report Lisa. Did you see our Beautiful Hua Mei? Wish we could hear more about her and her family too. I hope the SDZ staff has a great Thanksgiving; I know you will see to it that our beloved critters will have an amazing one, and I wish all my blogger friends (whom I’ve truly come to love because of their wonderfully caring hearts) the most excellent Thanksgiving with their families and friends. We have so much to be thankful for even though we have critical choices ahead to keep our planet viable for our animals and ourselves. You all give me hope for the future, and I’m most thankful for you. HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!

  53. Rhonda says:

    Thank you Lisa for the update. . It is with such pleasure to learn how peacefully Mei Sheng endured that

    long flight to his new home. I wait anxiously for the next installment.

    Like others, I would love to know if you saw Hua Mei. I did find pictures of one set of her twins. How adorable.

    Like #17 Cheri, I would love to know what Bai does with her little one in the wee hours of the morning. I check PandaCam shortly after arriving at work most mornings (330am cst), and lots of times the den is empty. .

    So excited about Monday when we learn our little girls name. .

  54. AC in NYC says:

    Thanks Lisa, it’s very exciting hearing from you and knowing that Sheng was doing fine. I was feeling bad about his travel. Panda team, the effort you guys put in is amazing; I can picture Sheng sitting there all sweet and content. Thanks.

  55. Carol in AL says:

    Thanks so much for the update. Sounds like everything went like clockwork, and our boy is doing well. I can’t wait for the next installment!

  56. Marco says:


    Like everyone else I want to thank your for giving us the details on Mei Sheng’s trip. I makes me a little less sad to know he had a good trip and is safe and happy in his new home. Can’t wait to hear more!

  57. Julie from NJ says:

    Lisa, thank you so much for your wonderful ‘first installment’ blog about Mei Sheng’s departure from the SDZ; his flight; and subsequent arrival in his new home! I think all of us are breathing easier, knowing our precious boy stepped up to the plate and made you proud, with his sweet behaviour and gentle acceptance of it all, as he begins this next phase of his life. Your insight & perspective made it possible for all of us to feel as if we were lucky enough to have made the trip with him!

    As Thanksgiving approaches, we bloggers have so much for which to be thankful, and your care & love of this delightful bear will stay with us for years to come. He may be physically gone, but he will never be forgotten.

    Happy Thanksgiving, panda fans, and to the SDZ & staff for giving us the opportunity to experience the joy of watching our beloved pandas grow up on the panda cam…what a blessing!

  58. Susan says:

    Lisa and Staff…you not only took great care of your precious cargo, Mei Sheng, but you take very good care of all of us missing him with your wonderfully descriptive update. And, is it my imagination or, is Su Lin looking a little bit more in charge now that she is the elder child in the compound;-)

    As always, thanks for the glimpses of Panda life through Panda Cam…Baby is getting big and mobile.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  59. elle says:

    Thank you, Lisa for easing my sad little heart. I still ache for Mei Sheng and the video on youtube (with the Josh Grobin song) makes me cry everytime. BUT…I am happy for our boy…that he is living in his ancestrial home, in trees meant for him to climb, in a country that values and appreciates these amazing, beautiful animals.

  60. Frances in NY says:

    Wow–what a great adventure for you and Mei Sheng! I can’t wait to hear more–and what a great tribute to the loving care of Bai Yun and all of his human keepers and trainers that he proved to be so resilient and so grownup on his big trip. And please–can we have another camera so we can see Bai and the little one outside that door? It’s so tantalizing just seeing shadows and little paws every once in a while. Thanks!

  61. Melissa says:

    Thank you so much for detailing Mei Sheng’s trip to China. I thought about him all that day (and the next), until I heard he’d arrived safely. It’s wonderful to be able to picture what the trip was like—for you and for him (and for those lucky pilots!). I’m so glad he’s such a good boy. I’m just wondering how he’s adjusting to all the rain and fog at Wolong—quite a change from sunny San Diego!

    Like others, I miss him and wish I could watch him in his new home (and know it was he). If I feel like this, it must be so hard for you and all the other people who worked with him for over four years! Thank goodness for Su Lin and Baby Girl No Name Yet. And, of course, for sweet and patient Bai Yun and for Gao Gao.

  62. Candy in Iowa says:

    I too, would like to wish a heartfelt Happy Thanksgiving to the staff at SDZ for all they do for the animals there and beyond! We truly appreciate each and every one of you. Another Thanksgiving blessing goes out to all my fellow panda lovers and their families. It’s been a joy to keep in touch with all of you and with each cub born our numbers grow and grow as more of you discover these unique creatures. If everyone loved nature and appreciated our environment the way we do, our world would be much better place!

    Less than 6 days until little Miss Fluffy Butt gets her official name! CAN NOT WAIT!

  63. Mary from SF says:

    Have to add one thing to my previous entry: This old English teacher commends you for your fine writing–all the right details, a bit of dialogue (imaginary though it might be :-)), fascinating characters and, best of all, a cliffhanger to make us all eager for the next chapter! You get an A+ in my gradebook!

  64. Marilyn says:

    Lisa, Thanks so much for telling us about the plane trip with Mei Sheng. I’m glad it went well. I was worried about Mei Sheng and looking for news about how he was doing on the internet but couldn’t find much. So I’m glad you’ll be telling us about how it went in Shanghai and then Wolong.

  65. Carol says:

    I just want to wish all the terrific Zoo & Park staff and the wonderful, enchanting critters a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! You are a big part of what makes me genuinely thankful in this life! All the best to all of you!! And a big, big kiss to ” my girl,” our darling BaiBee!

  66. Maureen in Michigan says:

    To all animals lovers – take a few minutes to listen to the latest izoofarichat with Debbie & Curitis (at the WAP) & his beloved baby elephants These great animals are as much fun as the pandas – they have a wonderful family structure – so a new born not only has a mommy but several aunties to help it survive. These elephants seem to be having a ball playing in a mud hole. When one listens to these keepers the love of animals is so apparent – we are so lucky to have the SDZ & the WAP.

    Moderator’s note: Thank you, Maureen! Here’s the link for those interested in the iZoofari Chats:

  67. Marie says:

    I don’t understand why everyone is happy that Mei Sheng is in China now. I said before, he is an American bear. I am very sad that he is no longer with us. He was a lot of fun to watch.

    #17 I have seen this going on also but I can’t seem to see how Bai Yun carries the little Fluff-butt. I see the baby and then Bai Yun walks over her and when Bai Yun is gone, so is Bright Star???

    #23 What is Pinging?? Is it a name, and if so, what does it translate to?

  68. Debora says:

    Thank you so much for the delightful description of Mei Sheng’s trip. We are all so relieved that he was his usual calm, sweet self during the transition period. I know so many folks around the country were eager to read about his adventure. We anxiously await the rest of your travel log! Being able to read the account from someone first-hand is so healing for us all. Thank you for sharing that with us; even though we are not there, in our hearts, we travelled every step of the way with Sheng. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone at SDZ; we are so very thankful for all your efforts in saving the world’s beautiful and endangered animals! Your work is truly a gift for which we are all thankful.

  69. Shari says:

    Where did you find the video of Mei Sheng arriving in at Wolong?


  70. Kathi says:

    I would just like to add to the ” thank you’s” to the wonderful staff at the SDZ, particularly the folks who work with our beloved pandas..You all are the BEST and I’m grateful to every one of you who take such good care of these black and white pals of ours. I’ve collected pandas for more than half of my life, so they mean quite a bit to me and obviously so many others. You’re work is insuring that they will hopefully be around for many years to come. Just know there are lots of people who appreciate what all you do – and thank you again for making sure that Mr. Sheng had an uneventful trip to China. I’m going to be so anxious to hear how he’s doing over there, I love and miss that big boy! Thanks again to all of you at the SDZ and have a wonderful Thanksgiving..

  71. Sayuri says:

    Uh…it’s been almost three weeks…are you going to change the time on the panda cam clock anytime soon?

    Moderator’s note: We’ll notify our Panda Cam provider.

  72. barbara says:

    To all my fellow bloggers Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families, you all are special people.

    To all the keepers and sdz staff Happy Thanks giving to you and your families also, without you we would not be able to enjoy these beautiful bears and all the other wonderful critters who have brought me such joy.

  73. Helen Rainier says:

    #67, Marie — I think you are misunderstanding people’s comments. None of us are happy that Mei Sheng had to leave to return to his ancestral home. It is the fact that we all knew this point would come as all baby pandas born outside of China are to be returned to China on their fourth birthday or thereabouts. The reason is to continue to add to gene pool diversity of the pandas that are left living in the ” wild.” Those of us who have said we are ” happy” are happy that Mei Sheng weathered the long trip safely and soundly and it was not a traumatic experience for him. This is because the staff at SDZ and from China have worked long and hard for four years to prepare Mei Sheng for this important transition in his life. He will find many ” lady pandas” who will be vying to be the recipient of the ” Final Bamboo Ceremony” (a take-off on the Final Rose Ceremony on ” The Bachelor” ) and he and his chosen ” bride” will hopefully produce many fine and wonderful babies who will carry on the proud family tradition.

  74. Marie says:

    I have come to the conclusion that Papa Gao Gao is one big eating machine. As long as he has an ample supply of bamboo, I think you could fly him to the moon and back, and he wouldn’t mind it. I love just watching him munch away.

  75. TAMI MICHAUD says:

    Oh Lisa!!!! Your blog was wonderful, I felt I was on that journey with you. He

    really came to accept his ” going home to his homeland” just like his mommy told him he would some day. He’s off to share his genes…Yes of course we will miss him…He’s still on this planet…It could have been worse…”Panda arrives on the moon

    safely”!!!…..Thanks for treating your charges with so much dedication and love…

  76. Darleen says:

    Thank you Lisa for enlightening us to how Mei Sheng handled his long trip. Needless to say, many of us held our breath and crossed our fingers not only for Mei but for everyone who was with him. I am so glad that he is settled in China and I sincerely hope that he does well there, does a good job at what he has to do, and is happy. We still love that boy. Will be waiting to hear more updates on our Mei Sheng. Thank you again for all you do for the animals at the SDZ.

  77. Chari Mercier says:

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY, you all!! Got on pandacam to see Bai and baby girl, and saw baby girl sound asleep. Cam C14 has got a small wobbly line thru the middle of the picture, so can you all have your IT guys check it out? Appreciate it alot! Hope you all have a very nice day with your animals and your families. To all of the Atlanta Zoo pandacam fans, their cam has been out for a week now. Been missing seeing Mei Lan and her playful antics! They are hoping to get it fixed and back online next week—knock on wood!!! They’ll let us know when it’s up and running.

    Well, gonna go back to the pandacam and check in on the girls. Have a great Turkey Day, you all!!

    Chari Mercier 🙂

    St. Pete, FL

  78. Sammi in UK says:

    #67 Marie i understand what you mean about not understanding why people are ” happy” about Mei Sheng has gone to China. I’m not happy about it but i think #73 Helen has worded it exactly right. As i’ve already said i’m not happy that Mei Sheng has left but i’m happy that his journey went exceptionally smoothly and he didn’t show any signs of stress or be of any concern to the staff that went with him. He was so well trained by the SDZ staff and how he coped with his journey just shows what amazing people they are and of course what an amazing panda boy Mei Sheng is.

    I wish that i could look on panda cam and see him there i do miss him very much but i know that i’m not alone but as we all understand it doesn’t make us feel better knowing we’re not alone.

    I agree with others who say his ” home” is USA as he was born in USA. Ok we all know that pandas are originally from China but i do think it would have been a nice thing if China were to allow USA to keep pandas born in USA . The USA pay China a big amount of money to have the pleasure and enjoyment of ” loaning” giant pandas, so . they could at least let them keep any cubs born. At least it would still be boosting the survival of the giant panda population. And that is the most important issue that these beautiful pandas are not allowed to become extinct.

    There are probably some of you that do not agree with what i’ve said, but it’s just how i feel.

    I really do miss Mei Sheng and wish he could have stayed and had a ” wife” brought to him then we could have seen his beautiful babies. But that’s just wishful thinking

  79. Linda says:

    What a fantastic job! I was a little curious about the airplane. Did you you play airplane roar tapes around him so he would get used to the sound and not freak out?

  80. joan says:

    watching precious (hint) try to scoot out from the birthing den, the front gets up but the rear lags. wish i could give her a lift!

    such joy…many thanks.


    painted post, n.y.

  81. Darlene, Vancouver, BC says:

    #78 I agree with you totally. Yes we know that the homeland of the Panda is China, but I too feel that there should be no reason that a Panda born and raised in the USA can’t remain in the USA. The training and care that they are given should indeed be testiment that the handlers and care-givers here in the USA are able to care for these animals for the years they are in the USA and would continue if they were to remain.

    I am going to China next October and will make the trip to Wolong, but I know in my heart that it won’t be the same as San Diego. In San Diego I felt ” so close, but yet so far away” from the bears. I feel that even though I will be able to be so close to the bears, that maybe, just maybe we shouldn’t have the access that Wolong offers???? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I would give anything to hold a baby panda but am struggling with whether I should or not. If these animals are to be released (I know not all will be) back into the wild, should human contact be so available? I am just so torn..

  82. Sammi in UK says:

    I would like to wish you all


    I hope i’ve got the right day

  83. gloria says:

    Thank you very much for this full and detailed report, Lisa. Glad to hear that you, the other staff and Mei Sheng had a nice travel to China (and back… though without Mei). Thanks and kudos to you and all keepers for the good job you did and do with our beloved pandas.

  84. Peggy says:

    Thank you Lisa for taking the time today to talk to me about Mei Sheng and Wolong after the Panda nameing ceremony, I know you are busy I was happy that you stopped and took the time to talk.

    I was happy that I was able to tell you in person how much I appreciate your blog about Mei Sheng’s journey – You turly are a special person and thank you again for taking such good care of all of the panda’s and now we have our precious Zhen Zhen to watch and Cute little Su Lin, and I always love to watch Mom and Dad too. I never get tired of watching them, they are all special and precious.

  85. Mary Ann says:

    I was a little upset at first that Mei Sheg was going to China, however I understand. Ever sence I was younger when we had to doa report of are choice in school I always did it on Pandas. Iam galad Mei Sheg made a safe trip. I really injoy the Panda Cam when I” am not busy at work you will find me watching all the Panda’s Cant belive how big are little baby is getting

    Mary Ann from clinton Twp Michigan

  86. Stephanie Hite says:

    Wow! Thanks for all the updates on Mei Sheng. What an experience for everyone involved. I just wished our panda could have stayed here. I remember my first visit to the zoo when Hua Mei was born and then out on display to the public. I hope you got to see her too while you were there. It is such a wonderful program that you have. Please keep this effort going. Thanks to you and your staff for all the hard work and long hours that you put in. Maybe down the road we can get to keep our pandas born here in the USA.