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.

WolongWe took the short drive up the road from the main center at Wolong to the quarantine facility. It was very cold, in the 30′s, but I didn’t notice. Mei Sheng was here! He had to be isolated from others, both human and panda alike, to ensure that he is healthy before being released into their panda population. Not to worry, he did have company; his new keeper Mr. Xie, or Scott as we know him, was with him 24/7.

Scott escorted us across the bridge to the facility. I was so excited I barely noticed the swaying bridge and raging river below us. Upon arrival, Mei Sheng was resting outside. I called to him and he perked up and looked somewhat confused. He slowly made his way over to us. Being used to just Scott there at the facility, he was very curious about the four others in our party. After he was finished investigating the others, he came over to me and presented his back for the longest back scratch ever. I even got some belly rubs in between the rolls and somersaults. Yes, he remembered.

 Mei Sheng with Scott and AngieOver the next few days, I worked with Mei Sheng and Scott. Just like he did at the San Diego Zoo, Mei Sheng welcomed me daily with early morning bleats. He also very much enjoyed the six feedings he received each day. Scott and I did daily training sessions as well. Mei Sheng remembered all of the behaviors he learned while at the Zoo, except for one that he was rusty on, but this was within reason. Scott had been modifying his blood-draw behavior to accommodate their blood-draw sleeve. Instead of grabbing the blood-draw sleeve handle perpendicularly with his forepaw, he now had to grab horizontally and “underhand.” No problem for Mei Sheng!

On our second day together, Scott informed me we would do a blood draw, the first draw since he has been at Wolong. Without a hitch, with Scott as trainer, Mei Sheng sat patiently, eating apples while the vet collected blood. Good boy! Another change I noticed was that Mei Sheng always kept a very close eye on what Scott was doing. I realized then that the torch had been passed, a bond and trust had developed; Mei Sheng has a new keeper, and a very good one at that.

 Angie and Mei ShengIn between feeding sessions, training, and cleaning, much playing and back scratching took place over those few days. It was so great to see my panda friend and to make a new one. Being at the center and meeting Scott and the other staff at Wolong really has put my mind at ease. Mei Sheng is in good hands and in an incredibly beautiful environment, his natural home.

 Wolong exhibitAs most of my time was spent up at the quarantine facility, I didn’t have the opportunity to spend much time at Wolong’s main center. However, when I first arrived and toured the center I came across a large female panda, resting peacefully on a log, foot swaying gently, while one of her cubs rested close by. Even though I had only seen Hua Mei when she was a youngster, before I became an employee of the Zoo, I knew immediately it was she! The resemblance to Bai Yun is amazing; Hua Mei is a beautiful bear.

Just as much as I was looking forward to my reunion with Mei Sheng, I was also dreading another goodbye. The day had come too quickly. Scott saved the last feeding for me. I did what was probably my last training session with Mei Sheng, who was great as always, and gave a quick scratch and made a hasty exit. We crossed that raging river once again. Through my tears, I thanked Scott for everything and told him that I was happy he was Mei Sheng’s new keeper. He put his hand on my shoulder and reassured me that he will take good care of “our’ boy.

The other day, Scott e-mailed me to say Mei Sheng completed his quarantine and returned to the main center on December 12. He reports that Mei Sheng is very comfortable in his new exhibit, which is very similar to ours here at the Zoo. I am sure he is charming the Wolong visitors as I write.

Thanks to my wonderful colleagues, my new friends at Wolong. I am extremely honored to work with such lovely creatures, and to know that the work I do everyday is a global effort to save a species.

Angie Fiore is a keeper at the San Diego Zoo.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Comments are currently closed. Pinging is not allowed.

122 Responses to “A Happy Reunion and New Friends”

  1. Helen Rainier says:

    This is a truly beautiful posting. How wonderful that so soon after Mei Sheng’s arrival he has another familiar face from SDZ to see him and the fact that he remembered you is amazing. It is also good to hear yet another glowing report on the super panda mother Hua Mei.

    One thing is very clear — that Bai Yun is a very good panda mother and has taught her babies very, very well. Thanks for a very bright spot in a dreary day here in Puget Sound!

  2. Candy Coleman says:

    Thank you so very, very much Angie!!! So good to know our boy is doing well and bonding with Scott. I’m also glad that you got to see Hua Mei. I have loved her so much from the day she was born. This sets my mind at ease. Happy New Year to all SDZ staff, critters, and fellow bloggers.

  3. Kris says:

    What a wonderful story, Angie! It is great that you were able to visit Mei Sheng. While I am sure he is developing new bonds with Scott, I would bet he was very glad to see an old friend! Sounds like he reveled in your attention while you were there. It is good to know that he is in such capable and caring hands. Thank you all for keeping us up-to-date on what is happening with ” our” boy. Look forward to more news in the future.

  4. Susan Kazula says:

    Angie – How fantastic to read about Mei Sheng. He really has settled in well. What a relief for you all.

    I hope we hear more news in the future.

  5. Carole says:

    Mei Sheng will always be the panda ” love of my life.” Thank you, Angie, for helping to make his transition easier. It is always comforting to see a close, old friend who gives great, long back scratches and belly rubs.

    Hua Mei is her mother’s daughter — big, beautiful and intelligent. I saw her in October 2004 about six weeks after she gave birth to her first set of twins. I must make another trip there now that I have two old San Diego friends to visit.

  6. Gigi says:

    Wow….I teared up reading this beautiful report on Mei Sheng and Hua Mei! just call me a big cry baby, I know!!

    How wonderful to hear that Mei has bonded with Scott…that puts alot of minds at ease.

    Someday I hope to visit Wolong and see all the pandas including Mei Sheng, Hua Mei and possibly by that time, Tai Shan too.

    Thanks for this wonderful report!!!

    Happy New Year to all at SDZ and my fellow panda lovers!!!!!!

  7. Mae in NJ says:

    Angie, thank you for the reassurance that Mei Sheng is truly adapting to his home and that he is as well cared for there as he was with you and the other dedicated SDZ staff. Since you stated that your mind is now at ease, the rest of us can also feel at ease. When I read that Scott patted your shoulder to comfort you, I felt that pat upon myself and was also comforted.

    Although the ” torch has been passed” , it is wonderful to know that dear Mei Sheng has not forgotten the loving care he received from you. I smiled thinking about the long back-scratching sessions he elicited from you. I hope Scott noticed how much Mei Sheng loves those back-scratches and will continue them in your stead.

    Thank you, also, for mentioning Hua Mei. The fact that she is thriving there and produced three sets of twins should also calm any anxiety about Mei Sheng’s life in Wolong.

    Please continue to keep us updated whenever you get more e-mail from Scott! Although Mei Sheng is now their bear, we still feel somewhat protective about him. Thank you for your beautifully written blog!

  8. Peggy says:

    Thank you so much for the wonderful and great update on Mei Sheng, I am so glad he finally got out of quartine and is now with the rest of the pandas; wooing everyone that meets him and especially the girl pandas. Also thank you for telling us you saw Hua Mei, she still is all of our hearts as is Mei Sheng.

    I am hoping and saving my money so one day soon I too can go to Wolong, I want to volunteer and spend time with the pandas. Any suggestions about doing this and when is the best time to go?

    Again thank you Angie for this wonderful update on our panda boy and his sister.

  9. Bobbie Wood says:

    Dear Angie,

    Thank you for the heart-warming letter about your visit to Wolong! Your day with Scott and Mei Sheng must be the joy of a lifetime! To know he remembered all the affection you gave him with the back scratch and tummy scratch and allowed it again is so very sweet! And to recognize Hua Mei with one of her babies is so wonderful. Both Pandas (as well as all of the Wolong Pandas) are in excellent hands and we all know they are loved deeply by their care-takers. Your beautiful letter has made my day :) Thank you also for the photos which are posted as well.

  10. Marcia M from PA says:

    What a great update!! I am so glad that Mei Sheng is doing so well and that his keeper is so wonderful. How cool that you also got to see Hua Mei. We will always miss them, but it is good to know that they are in loving hands. Happy New Year!

  11. Holly - Upstate NY says:

    Fabulous writeup, Angie! Thank-you ever so much for sharing your trip with us. I felt as though I was almost there with you. How bittersweet! All of this with Mei Sheng is, of course, a pre-requisite for me with the inevitable, eventual leaving of Tai Shan. (Hang on to yourself, Holly, it’s gonna happen!)

    I can’t believe just how attached a person can get to a creature they’ve only seen in the flesh a couple of times, but seemingly know inside and out from countless hours of observation. These web cams are such a joy to so many people!

    I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to laugh, cry, gasp, observe and share in the lives of all our ‘American’ pandas, and I’m grateful to those who are on the front lines daily, sharing their experiences and knowledge with those of us who cannot be there.

  12. Sally says:

    Thank you so much Angie for writing about your visit to wolong and your time with Mei Sheng. To read that he still remembered you and you were able to give him that back scratch and belly rub, well, brought tears to my eyes.

    I’m glad to hear he is doing well and is now out of quartine.

    And to be able to see Hua Mei too? What luck!

    She has become such a good mom.

    Oh and thanks for the pictures too.

    Hope to continue to hear about Mei Sheng thru Scott’s emails and maybe more visits to Wolong.

  13. Bernice says:

    Angie, thanks so much for your heartfelt update. It must have been sooooo hard to say another goodbye, but I’m sure you wouldn’t have traded this reunion for anything! Mei Sheng is such a wonderful boy…it’s so sweet that he remembers you (of course he would!). Your little bonding session just warms my heart. Thanks for everything you do, and keep us posted!

  14. Sara says:

    Thank you for that update Angie. It was so great seeing those pictures of Mei. It sounds like he is doing well over there. I’m sure the highlight of your trip for him was getting that nice long back scratch from you. :)

  15. Shirley says:

    Thank you for this wonderful report of your visit to Wolong! It warms my heart to hear how well loved and cared for these dear animals are. What a treat that must have been for you to have Mei recognize you and ask for a back scratch! He knows you are ” good people” . It’s great that you got to see Hua Mei, too! Bai Yun and Gao Gao sure make beautiful babies, and now they are grandparents, too! I’m so glad I found the panda cam for SDZ and have been able to watch and fall in love with your pandas. Thanks for all you and your coworkers do!

  16. Maureen in Michigan says:

    Dear Angie – All pandaholics were glad to read about your visit to Wolong – we all knew he was doing fine but to get a first hand report from an old friend was wonderful news. ZA is doing a memory study with their pandas & as Mei Sheng knew you it’s obvious they are very intelligent animals. What a thrill it must have been to give him back scratches & belly rubs again. To see Hua Mei & one of her cubs was a real treat. Scott seems like a special person – but from what I hear all the staff are dedicated to the care of their national treasures. So now Mei Sheng is playing with other pandas, climbing trees, rolling in the snow & will be looking for a bride soon. The photos you posted made my day – Happy New Year to all the staff.

  17. Lynda in Lansing, Michigan says:

    Gigi (#6) – Ditto for me too!! What a baby I am! I did not watch Mei Sheng from a cub but have been so touched by the stories of his trip to the mother land and all the stories of the bloggers….I can’t help but get emotional with any posting of his progress!

    We are so extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to ” share” this experience as a community and to share our feelings with each other. THese animals are so very special and they truly are Magical! They touch our hearts and our lives whether we have seen them in person – in whatever zoo they are in – or if we are just experiencing them throught his wonderful website! I so treasure reading all the entries and stories and living ” vicariously” through everyone else.

    I am looking forward to watching our Miss ZZ grow and blossom into the wonderful adult that she will be; while also dreading the day that she will most likely leave us and go home. BUT that is hopefully a very long way away.

    Thank you SDZ staff for this wonderful website, the postings and updates on all the pandas – near and far – and for the experience we are being afforded here. We are all truly blessed and I treasure every day that I can see the San Diego pandas! And I can’t wait for my next trip to SD to see Miss ZZ in person….

    Happy New Year EVERYONE!! God Bless.

  18. Helen says:

    Thank you Angie. Your message is like a gift – just knowing that Mei Sheng is well taken care of by Scott and the others at Wolong puts a lot of our minds at ease. I have thought of him often since he has gone and wondered how he was doing, and hoped for the best for him. Now I truly feel that he has adapted to the change and that he will do well in his new environment. What a joy it must be for you to know that he remembered you, and how wonderful those back scratches must have felt to him when they were given by an old friend. Thank you again for letting us know about your visit.

  19. Candy from Iowa says:

    Angie – what a wonderful gift to us for the New Year! I’m so happy that you got to go and have such a fantastic trip. It’s so reassuring to hear another keeper talk about what a great place our bears are in. Updates on Hua Mei are treasured too, since I’ve followed the Panda Cam since her birth.

    I too, am going to have to make a trek over there to see this facility. It would be a dream come true!

  20. Marilyn says:

    Angie, Thank you for the update on Mei Sheng. I’m glad he is doing well and that you got a chance to see–and scratch!–him. Thank you also for the work you and your stalwart colleagues do with these beautiful animals.

  21. Carol says:

    Angie, thank you sooooooo much for the wonderful update! It brought a tear to my eye and, at the same time, soothed my heart to know that Mei Sheng is adjusting well and happy in his new home. And hearing that you saw Hua Mei with one of her cubs was just icing on the cake!

    Thank you so much!!

  22. Chet in Malaysia says:

    Angie – thanks for the update on Mei Sheng, and the note on your ” meeting” with Hua Mei!

  23. Joy :) says:

    Hi Angie, and a million thanks!

    I was so excited to read your blog that I forgot how to use my computer for a minute. It was like the ” Christmas-morning-running-down-the-stairs-to-see-what-Santa-brought” excitement.

    Yeah >>> Sheng is great in China! and he is out of quarantine!

    Thanks for the pictures!!!

    I’m glad that you had a good trip and time with the pandas.

    Thanks again for sharing!

    Love, Joy :)

  24. Rose N. says:

    Hi Angie,

    What an excellent and moving report from your trip to Wolong. How proud you must have felt when our sweet Mei Sheng recognized you.

    It’s great news to hear that Mei Sheng is happy with both his keeper, Scott, and with his new environment.

    Also, thanks for the update on our lovely Hua Mei and family.

    Happy New Year To All!

  25. Cathy G. (LA) says:

    What a lovely and reassuring blog, Angie. Thanks for letting us know how well Mei Sheng and Hua Mei are doing. The Wolong staff members really care about the pandas and I’m so glad that more and more people can see it for themselves. The staffs at the SDZ and the Wolong center have such a good relationship and all the pandas are enjoying the results!!! We panda fans do, too, by reading the up-dates you and the others who’ve visited Wolong generously post here.

    Many thanks for allowing us to peek over your shoulder and share your pleasure… :LOL:

  26. elle says:

    Hi Angie,

    Every posting I read about Mei Sheng makes eases my heart. Of course he would remember those that have loved and cared for him so dearly. I can only imagine how difficult it was to say goodbye to him again. How fortunate to see Hua Mei with one of her cubs! It was meant to be. I look forward to hearing more about Mei’s new life in Wolong. I miss him so!

  27. Stacy says:

    Thank you so much for sharing the details of your visit to Wolong, Angie. It’s so reassuring to hear that our beautiful boy is adapting well and has such a devoted keeper. I hope you will pass along our thanks and well wishes to Scott!

    Back scratches and tummy rubs! Sounds like heaven to this panda lover.

  28. Sammi in UK says:

    Thank you so much for telling us about your trip to Wolong.

    #6 Gigi i join you in being a cry baby. I was crying, but it was tears of happiness (i think?) that we get to hear even more news on our sweet beautiful lovable Mei Sheng.

    I am so happy to know that he didn’t spend Christmas Day in quarantine.

    As others have said, Bai Yun is a very good mum. She is a very special panda who certainly knows how to raise her cubs.

    I bet that Mei Sheng enjoyed his time spent with you when you were at Wolong as you so obviously did with him.

    I am so happy that you got to spend cherished time with him. I am envious of you getting to give him the back scratches and belly rubs, feeding him and just seeing him. As i was reading about it all i could imagine being in your shoes and relishing every second of it. If you ever go again and manage to be able to give him a rub again, then please give him an extra rub from me here in the UK.

    This is lovely news to end 2007 with and i just hope we get to hear more lovely news about our amazing gentle giant Mei Sheng in 2008.

    May i wish you SDZ staff, Pandas – Bai Yun, Gao Gao, Su Lin and little miss Zhen Zhen, all the other animals and to all fellow Bloggers al over the world A Very Happy New Year 2008.

    {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{Hugs}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}} to all of you.

  29. Kathi in Dallas says:

    I think I’m going to tear up every time I see ” our boy’s” name for the rest of my life. He is the ” panda love of my life” (thanks, Carole! :-) too, and I miss seeing him so much. Angie, your story made my day today, not to mention the new pictures!! What an absolute joy for you to be able to see him again so soon! I bet he loved seeing a familiar face as well! Scott sounds like such a compassionate, caring keeper (he’s got big shoes to fill!) and it’s so nice to know that someone loves Mei Sheng like you and the rest of us do. How could anyone not love that big boy?

    And, what a special treat to be able to see Miss Hua Mei, too! She was my very first panda cam baby, so it’s fantastic to know how well she’s doing..I wonder if Mei Sheng and Hua Mei will ever get to meet? They could compare wonderful San Diego Zoo stories!

    Thank you again, SO much, Angie—your story is the boost I needed today..Knowing Mei Sheng is surrounded by people who love him is such a huge relief..Please keep us posted any time you hear news from Wolong about Mei Sheng and Hua Mei!

    Also, Happy New Year to all the Zoo staff and my fellow pandaholics!!

    xoxoxo

  30. Eva says:

    Thanks for sharing your visit with Mei Sheng, Angie! I am crying again. You must felt so touched when you knew he remembered you!

  31. barbara says:

    Wow Angie what a way to end a crazy year, to know that our boy is doing well and in Scotts capable hands.I was overjoyed to know that he remembered you and those backrubs. What a lifetime of memories you will have and to also be able to see Hua Mei, well thats a big plus. The pictures were lovely and the secenery is beautiful.

    Thank you again and Happy New Year to you and all the staff at the SDZ.

  32. Panda Queen from New Orleans says:

    Thanks for the info. I miss Mei Sheng and Hua Mei.

  33. Margaret says:

    Angie, what a wonderful holiday present you and Mei Sheng, and Scott, had. A price-less gift of time with your favorite newly Chinese panda boy from California.

    It sounds like Scott has come to know and love Mei Sheng as much as his beloved ” family” at SDZ do.

    He is definitely in good hands, and was probably equally excited to see you and spend so much quality time with you. I am thrilled for you, and Lisa, that you had an opportunity to see Hua Mei all grown up, literally, and now a mother of 6 cubs. To be that close to her and her cub is a lifetime memory for sure.

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us, helping to brighten and lighten our holiday, and to usher in a very Happy New Year.

    Thankfully the tears of joy this time were even greater than the tears of sadness when Lisa said her goodbyes.

  34. Silvertip says:

    POO POO on any one that dares to say pandas are just animals. It thrilled me to here Mei Sheng had remembered people he had been with and was able to perform his old training procedures. It warms my heart to know he is so well taken care of. Thank you so much for the informative update on our great boy.

    Happy New Years to all the staff and precious cargo at the San Diego Zoo.

  35. Rachel in NY says:

    How touching to read that Mei Sheng remembered you, even as he has accepted his new keeper. It’s reassuring to know he is doing well. Thanks for sharing the details of your visit!

  36. Margaret says:

    Can’t you just imagine Mei Sheng’s ears twitching when he heard Angie call to him in English? No wonder he was slightly startled! He would have been overjoyed to hear her voice and recognize the familiar sounds of English commands. He would also have wanted to respond positively hoping for apple treats and cherished back scratches from familiar loving hands. Scott sounds like a very special person and knew how to share Mei Sheng’s time with Angie. He probably was glad for some human companionship after so long in quarantine himself. To spend quality time with Mei Sheng’s former keeper and to see them interact would have been a great thrill for him, as well as very educational. Hopefully Scott picked up on the fine art of back and belly scratching for the handsome panda boy.

    It should have eased Lisa’s mind and concerns about him being in quarantine all alone with just Scott for so many weeks. To have bonded with Scott so quickly and completely, and then to have icing on his ” cake” by spending some time with Angie, would have warmed Sheng’s heart and eased any stress he had from quarantine, new food, water, environment, etc. Now that he is out in the main part of Wolong, he can really enjoy his panda homeland’s sounds, smells, sights, SNOW, and thrive on the attention of his adoring public coming to meet him.

    We are all happily jealous of your fabulous trip Angie!

    Thanks for sharing it with us. HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!

  37. Diana says:

    Thank you for sharing with us your special time in Wolong. Scott sounds like another incredible and caring panda keeper, and I am thrilled you had the chance to spend some quality time with Mei Sheng. As a San Diegan, I think of Mei Sheng as mine, but he is truly ours…a one-of-a-kind panda who belongs to the world. I look forward to hearing more about his new life in his natural home, so keep us posted as news comes your way. In the meantime, we have our beautiful panda family right here to watch–and OUR little Zhen is a marvel, without a doubt!

    To my fellow pandaholics and all of you at the zoo–best wishes for a healthy and happy 2008!

  38. Deborah says:

    What is a typical day like at Wolong for a panda of Sheng’s age? I have seen many videos of cubs playing together, but what kind of routine do the adults have? How many adults can you safely put together in a yard? Do they spend their day alone in their own enclosure or do they mingle with other pandas?

  39. Karen in Pasadena says:

    Angie, THANK YOU so much for your wonderful story. I’m glad to know Mei Sheng and Hua Mei are doing well. If there’s any more, I’m sure we’d all love to hear it.

  40. Barb in Surrey, BC says:

    Well….(sniffle)…Another great writing, Angie. What a thrill to be recognized and still adored by the most beautiful animal I can think of. You are truly special to Sheng and all of us. Yes, my heart was beating like a tom tom when you first reached out to him. Of course wonderful Sheng would recognize you immediately. I am so gratified that Scott and he have bonded so well. What a sharp panda boy he is, to adapt to his new blood test so quickly! It really seems, from his photo, that he has GROWN.

    I promised myself I wouldn’t tear up…broken promise! Your trip was a wonderful thing to do for a most wonderful bear. Also glad you had a chance to see our Hua Mei in her now comfortable surroundings. Yes, those two pandas are where they belong, but knowing that, my heart still aches to see them. Thank you for the tremendous and dedicated trip and update. Hugs to that hubby for taking the backseat at Wolong!

  41. Lainie says:

    Ohh my gawd, another tear jerking story !!! I cant take any more !!! Glad that Angie was able

    to visit Mei Sheng at Wonlong, and give us,here, in USA an update !! Thank you much Angie…. of course, now I have to try to stop the tears from falling !! Happy to hear Mei is doing well !!! =)

  42. Barbara in Midwest says:

    Angie, thank you so much for this post. And thank you for planning your visit to China after Mei Sheng had been there only 2 months. I know it was so heartwarming to you that he recognized you and that he cherished those unforgotten belly rubs. It was heartwarming for us to hear!

    I have an old St. Louis Zoo guide which includes a panda they had on exhibit from 1939 to 1952. It states ” The giant panda is good tempered, but apparently less intelligent than the bears.” They didn’t know the pandas very well then! Indeed, at that time, they weren’t even considered to be bears. Thanks to SDZ and other research zoos/centers we have gleaned so much knowledge since then and we understand them so much better. And that is beneficial to the pandas as well as to us. I search for every tidbit of knowledge I can find about this wonderful creature.

  43. Mary Lou says:

    I have been wondering if Mei Sheng would still recognize his trainers after being gone for awhile. Well, Angie sure answered that one. I had tears streaming down as I read about her and Mei Sheng….the back rubs and the stomach rubs. Am anxious to hear about him becoming a ‘papa’. With his fantastic genes, he will certainly bring some very talented pandas into this world. Happy New Year SDZ.

  44. KK West says:

    Just a wonderful, lovely account, Angie, of your visit to China. Mei Sheng seems to have adapted well to his new surroundings. Am wondering if other pandas which have been relocated to China (or to the USA, for that matter) adapt as quickly.

    Heartwarming blog, Angie. Thank you for taking the time to share it with all PandaFans! :-)

    –KK–

  45. Diana S. says:

    Thank you very much Angie for the wonderful news about Mei Sheng. What a happy home and loving keeper he has. Happy, healthy New Year to all the pandas and their keepers!!!

  46. Steven Goh says:

    Ah… Mei Sheng is so nice. I just hope that there will be Panda in Malaysia too

  47. Widget says:

    What a wonderful, heartwarming, interesting story. In a number of ways. Wonderful, because any story with Mei Sheng and Hua Mei in it is always wonderful. Heartwarming, because we have all been thinking of Sheng, and missing him terribly. Interesting because of one of the things that Angie said.

    ” I came across a large female panda, resting peacefully on a log, foot swaying gently, while one of her cubs rested close by. ”

    When Bai Yun nurses or holds Zhen Zhen, I have seen her foot sway, or jiggle up and down. You can really tell that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! They might be separted by miles, but not by genes. Happy New Year Everyone!!

  48. Ann says:

    Thanks Angie. Your blog brought me to tears.

  49. Sheri says:

    The panda on the cover of the National Geographic 2008 panda calendar is Mei Sheng when he was little.

    He is also the featured panda for December 2008. I also noticed that this calendar is available online thru

    the SDZ giftshop, and is now 1/2 price!

    Here’s the link for the San Diego Zoo’s online store: http://www.shopzoo.com

  50. TAMI MICHAUD says:

    YOU HAD ME RIGHT IN CHINA WITH YOU…

    IT WAS VERY MOVING, ALL OF IT. AND TO REUNITE WITH HUA MEI MUST HAVE BEEN MOVING AND HEART WARMING TO YOU. AND THEY ARE ” HOME” WHERE THEIR KIND IS AS MUCH AS WE WILL MISS THEM WE TOOK THIS PROJECT ON KNOWING THWY WOULD BE OUR CHARGEES FOR TWO YEARS AFTER BIRTH….

    I SAW OUR LITTLE ZHEN ZHEN FRIDAY AND UPCLOSE SHE IS EVEN MORE PRECIOUS. SHE WAS CAUTIOUSLY REACHING WITH HER PAWS TO GET A FEEL FOR THE DEPTH FROM THE PLATFORM SHE WAS ON AND THE GROUND…” PRECIOUS” …. I GOT BACK IN LINE ONLY TO FIND HER UP IN THE TREE ASLEEP!!!! THAT’S A PANDA FOR YOU…I MUST SAY UPON ARRIVING EARLY THAT DAY, THERE IS A SIGN THAT LET’S YOU KNOW WHAT ANIMALS ARE NOT ON EXHIBIT…THERE IT WAS BOTTON RIGHT ” BABY PANDA’….OH NO!!!!! THANK GOODNESS THAT WAS THE SIGN FOR THE DAY BEFORE…WHEW!!!

  51. Mary from SF says:

    Thank you for the update. I’m glad to hear that such a strong bond has developed between Mei Sheng and Scott in such a short time! But it’s even better to know he still recognized you and appreciated the back & belly rubs–I hope the new keeper took note :-)

  52. Hazel says:

    Thank you Angie – what a wonderful account of your trip to meet up again with Mei Sheng, he is one of a kind, being so intelligent and special.

    Candy2# you said it all.

    To actualy see the unforgettable Hua Mei was the icing on the cake, she always was a ‘mini Bai Yun’ when she was young panda and I still miss her very much.

    Shirley 15#….

    Hua Mei and Mei Sheng are ‘half’ brother and sister. Shi Shi is the sire of Hua Mei (via AI), he is now a retired and elderly ‘gentleman’ who is ‘blind’. If you follow the blogs a fellow pandaholic has a contact who updates her on his welfare. I recall when Shi Shi was at SDZ he was not very ‘mobile’, he just enjoyed sitting on C29 munching his bamboo.

    Bai Yun and Shi Shi are grandparents to Hua Mei’s three sets of twins – our dream boy GaoGao will also become a grandparent when wonderful Sheng meets his special lady and produces his own offspring.

    Wishing a Happy New Year to Angie and all the staff at SDZ, also all fellow Pandaholics…

  53. Joy in Yuma says:

    What a wonderful up-date on Mei Sheng! Thanks for sharing, and all the pictures, too. What wonderful work/pleasure you folks do!

  54. Bonnie says:

    What a great blog to continue the story of Mei Sheng’s trip to his new home in Woolong. Even though I could not be there on his trip all of his keepers have kept all of us panda lovers enthralled with their stories, pictures and facts on the pandas. It will be Feb before I can see the newest addition but these bogs and panda cam keep me going on a daily basis. Thanks for keeping us thoroughly informed.

  55. Susan H. says:

    Oh my God, what a wonderful surprise! It was such a blessing, Angie! Thank U for this update and pictures of baby boy! Knowing he’s in good hands and so is his big sis Hua Mei sure makes me feel alot better, but yet it does not stop the tears of sadness and joy! These kids will always be special to us pandaholics!

  56. Julie from NJ says:

    Thank you so much, Angie, for your wonderful blog about your reunion with Mei Sheng at Wolong!

    We are all so happy to learn that he is adjusting well to his new environment, and his keeper, Scott, and can only imagine the thrill for you, being able to give back scratches, feed and train ‘your’ sweet boy, once again! Of course, it brought tears to my eyes when you indicated that he remembered you; how wonderful that moment of reconnection must have been, and the accompanying photos are precious…!

    This unexpected blog was a holiday bonus for all pandaholics, who have been worrying about Mei’s health & well being after his November return to China, so your message was perfectly timed for all of us! It certainly is a great way for us to begin the year 2008, knowing all is well in Wolong, and, hopefully, Scott will keep all of Mei’s former keepers updated on his life in his new home…!

    I wish all of the SDZ staff, and fellow panda lovers everywhere, a prosperous, healthy & Happy New Year…!

  57. Chi-Chi says:

    Thank you Angie for the sharing us your visit with Mei Sheng and Hua Mei. With the help of Panda International, we have the priviledge to make a small part of adopting Mei Sheng, PI send me a picture of Mei Sheng in quarantine. He does not look too happy! But I am so glad to know that Mei Sheng making good progress in adjusting to the surrounding environment and to Scott (his new keeper). You are absolutely correct. Hua Mei look very much like mama Bai Yun. I wonder if Hua Mei recognize her brother Mei Sheng? I saw a promo on Animal Planet Chanel. They have a show call ” Black and White GaLa” . Needless to say…..our beloved Pandas will be busy for the occasion.

  58. Kris says:

    Moderator – this is off-topic but what was all the excitement in the classroom about 12:30 pm on Sunday? Saw 3 keepers trying to coax Zhen down from her favorite perch. Was she stuck? Hurt? Impromptu exam time? Or perhaps playtime? At any rate, one of the keepers ended up climbing up and lifting her down. Made me wish I was the one there cuddling her… :)

  59. KK West says:

    I love watching this new fluffy-butt cub. She’s full of you know what!

    My husband has agreed to take me to our zoo here in San Antonio on New Year’s Day. I was a little worried about the enclosures, but my boss and others (who are involved with the Zoo here) assured me that our zoo is safe.

    No pandas, but we had koalas once, and they were gorgeous! We still have grizzlies, and many beautiful exhibits.

    I will post pictures, and I’m not sure how to do this without violating the rules here… I post at a place called ” Ableminds” — I’ve granted guest access in advance to anyone who wants to view the photos. Just search for ” KK” – It’s a pay to post site, but I’ve given guest access. Sheesh…I’m worried I’ve overstepped a boundry here, but had to try!

    Moderators…hope that’s okay.

    I’m going to feed the birds this time, too. We have a wonderful zoo here. I hope it’s very cold. The animals seem to like that MUCH better than the San Antonio HEAT!

    Happy New Year, y’all!

    –KK–

  60. Paula says:

    Thanks, #59 KK – look forward to seeing your pictures. I have accessed your website, it looks ok to go!

    Not to worry about the safety of the enclosures, my friend! You have a much better chance of being struck by lightning… or actually being struck by a random iceberg… than being hurt by an animal in an U.S. zoo. When it happens, it’s understood to be tragic and extremely rare, except by the media and attorneys.

    I also wanted to thank #49 Sherri for pointing us towards the Zoo Shop! Also, remember WWF has amazing panda items (well, it is their symbol!) and I’m sure their items are all on sale.

    Happy New Year!!

    Paula

  61. Maureen in Michigan says:

    #50 Tami – Wow, you are the first to say they’ve seen Miss Z in person. How cute can cute be. Because of the time difference I have not see Miss Z live in the exhibit until today – she was there well past the usual time – does this mean she’s out more now? And then when I checked time lapse I saw ZZ & Bai sleeping on the ledge – how did Miss Z get up there -

  62. Rita says:

    How terribly hard it must be on zoo keepers to loose an animal, either from transfer or death, that they have cared for and developed a deep bond with. So glad, both for you and Mei Sheng, that you were able to see him with his new trainer. Bet he will remember you the next time you get to see him, however long that may be.

  63. Susan Kazula says:

    May I wish all staff at SDZ a Very Happy New Year – the work you do is fantastic. Love also to the Polar Bears, who entertain me and, of course, those gorgeous Pandas. I so wish I could squish little ZZ (my daughter thinks I am nuts!)

    Love and best wishes to everyone who writes on these little forums (as a ‘newbie’ I’m still learning the ropes).

    Happy New 2008 everyone.

    Susan

  64. Lynda in Lansing, Michigan says:

    HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! I am watching Animal Planet right now and they are running a couple of their shows around the birth of Tai Shan at NZ! It’s oretty cool.

    Happy New Year Pandas!! May 2008 bring health and good enrichment toys!!

  65. barbara says:

    I would like to Wish everyone a Healthy and Happy New Year. I can’t wait to see what next year holds. New Babies, Mei Shengs first and what ever else comes about, It will be a good year. Peace to all

  66. Carole says:

    I have made several visits to see Zhen Zhen since her December 22 debut. During the first visit she played with a boomer ball rolling over with it as the ball started to roll, climbed logs, climbed on bamboo eating Bai Yun who gently pushed her down, climbed onto her favorite nap site about eight feet off the ground and assumed a position where one could only see the powder puff white ball of her rear end — PRECIOUS! It reminded me of how Bai Yun (” white cloud” got her name. As a cub, Bai would climb high so that all one could see was the ample white cloud of her bottom. I also was lucky enough to get a National Geographic quality photo of Zhen looking directly into my camera.

  67. Zozzie Golden says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences in Wolong and Mei’s journey.

  68. Debbie in VA says:

    Angie – thank you so much for your report. So glad to hear of continued contact with our American born pandas. Knowing that Wolong is a good home makes this loss much less difficult. I understand the tears – I hafve them as I read your account.

  69. Marlene says:

    To #66 Carole: Post that picture somewhere!! You are definitely lucky to have been able to get a good quality photo of little ZZ. And Happy New Year to all!

  70. Tony in China says:

    how interesting and magical meisheng recognized an old friend as you are!

    thank you for update info about MeiSheng’s life and wait for more

    how big his fore-paws are

    I wonder what difference would it be between MeiSheng and other pandas which born and grow in China

  71. Frances in NY says:

    Carole #66–how lucky you are to have seen Miss ZZ in person and to have gotten a one of a kind picture! Where did you get your info about Bai Yun? I’d love to know more about her as a cub to compare her to Zhen Zhen–the fluffy butt in the trees is apparently the same. I think it’s fantastic that Angie has been able to see Mei Sheng and Hua Mei now that they are in China–that kind of continuity is surely enriching for the humans, and I would hope for the bears also. Happy 2008!

  72. KK West says:

    #60 Paula…thank you! We had a wonderful time. No pandas, but lions, and tigers and bears..oh MY!

    There was one enclosure that I kept looking at, and if you look at my pictures, it’s some type of tiger or leopard (sorry not sure which) lounging on the hill. There’s no moat on that one. You’d have to see the enclosure to understand my concern.

    In any event, although there were no Pandas at our zoo (BOO-HOO!), there was a sign at one of the bear exhibits just as we walked in, saying that the particular exhibit was closed to prepare for a larger bear family. Makes me think there’s either a cub denning with mom, or a mom denning in preparation for birthing!

    I’m in awe of the keepers at the zoo. Going as early as we did (we arrived shortly after 9:00 a.m. opening), you could see them doing their ” chores.” None of them really interacted with us, except for one, who saw the disappointment on our faces when a particular family of monkeys weren’t out. She looked at us and said ” Hey, I’m just getting ready to let these guys back out, if you want to wait!” I said ” You BET we do! Thank you and Happy New Year!”

    Thank you to all who keep these creatures alive, safe and reprodoucing, so that future generations can enjoy them, one and all!

    Happy 2008 y’all!

    P.S. My thread (if you want to find it) is called ” Lions, and Tigers, and Bears…OH MY!”

  73. KK West says:

    Oh, and yes…thanks for the pointer to the Zoo Shop! I purchased the 2008 Panda Calendar, and snatched it at half price! :-)

    Next…socks… ;-)

  74. Margaret says:

    Carole, #66, thanks for sharing your sightings/visits with Zhen Zhen. She is truely precious, and we are envious of your great fortune to be able to see her up close in person.

  75. Marie says:

    I don’t believe it!!! I opened the Panda sight and there was our little Zhen Zhen, in Bai Yun’s bedroom, up on the platform (bed) with Bai. She is just phenomenal!!! (and so smart!)

  76. Michelle says:

    I had the opportunity to watch Growing Up Giant Panda on Animal Planet this weekend, and right about now if ZZ was in China they would be weaning her away from mom, it’s so sad they do that so early. I’m glad the pandas in the US don’t have to be taken away from mom so young.

  77. Sammi in UK says:

    #72 KK West i wish i could access the photos you mentioned in your earlier blog. I have tried but no such luck.

    Yesterday i found a recent photo of Mei Sheng now he’s out of quarantine. He looked a bit dishevelled not his usual handsome self, probably been rolling around and got a bit mucky. However he looks he still has a special place in my heart and always will.

    Just seen Zhen Zhen asleep up on the tree branches. Probably recharging her batteries ready to climb and play some more, jump all over mum again. I love the photo of her on top of Bai Yun she looks so cheeky like ” hey look at me i’m so clever” . She’s a real darling.

    Happy New Year everyone.

  78. Helen Rainier says:

    Wednesday, 1400 (2:00pm) PST — just watching pandacam — little Ms. Zoom is mirroring Mom — both are lying on their backs eating/mouthing bamboo. The little one is mirroring Mom’s actions so wonderfully. Simply too cute. Is it my imagination or is this little girl maturing faster than the other babies did?

  79. Loriann says:

    It’s 2PM San Diego time and C27 shows Zoom Zhen copying Mama Bai’s bamboo eating pose! ADORABLE! She definitely seems so independent at this age than I recall Su Lin being. I’m looking forward to seeing the Panda family in person the weekend after next! YIPEE! :-)

  80. Maureen in Michigan says:

    I’ve been watching Miss Z playing outside for over an hour now (nothing getting done!). Right now Bai & Zhen are lounging side by side eating bamboo -Zhen keeps looking at mommy to see if she’s doing it right- it’s like one picture of Tai MeiXiang side by side – panda see, panda do – too cute for words.

  81. Rita says:

    Hope the zoo got some pictures just now, Wed 2 p.m. Zhen and Bai were both lying on their backs ” eating” bamboo. Sure Zhen was just pretending.

  82. pandafan says:

    Happy New Year to all you pandaholics!!

    Today, I was able to view all three (NZ, SDZ, AZ) pandacams for three hours straight!!! What a treat! Of course, these days, I’m paying more attention to the little ” zoomer” . At 2 p.m. SD time today, I witnessed a perfect- picture-moment on C28. Mama Bai was on her back, on the grass, happily munching bamboo, when little miss ZZ came along, picked up a small piece of ‘boo’ and promptly assumed the exact same position as mama. Oh, how I wish I had been there to capture the scene which lasted for a whole six minutes!!

    One thing that really struck me was the difference between Lun Lun and Mei Lan vs. Bai Yun and ZZ considering both cubs at the same age. When Mei Lan was 4+ months old, Lun Lun was never far away and, as many of you have pointed out, she was almost always pulling Mei Lan down whenever Mei tried to climb the indoor structure. Today, I watched ZZ for three hours and, except for when she lay down beside Bai for a few minutes, I hardly saw her anywhere close to Bai. In fact, I’m sure Bai never left her spot on the grass while the little miss Precious was exploring, climbing, nibbling, etc. Such a difference in the sense of independence between these two female cubs. A big thank you to NZ, SDZ, and AZ for providing the opportunity to watch and learn about these beautiful creatures! One day soon, I will make the trip to see them live.

  83. joan says:

    it is 6:30 eastern time watching our baby zhen sitting in the corner of that concrete platform. is she in time-out???

    she has a dark spot on top of that precious head. i would be more than happy to come out there and give her a bath, just say the word.

    love the pandas.

    joan

  84. KK West says:

    Sammi #77 I’m sorry to hear that! Go to ableminds (dot com) and go to member folders and look for ” KK’s Place” – there’s an animal thread there. Hope you can find it. I believe one other poster did.

    Seems little Miss ZZ was exploring a bit more than I’ve been able to see before. I was at work (and busy), but peeked in anyway! It’s great to see her so active, because usually when I check in she’s snoozing away happily (just like Mei Lan at the AZ!)

    On a sad note, I got an e-mail from ShopZoo today that the Panda Calendar I ordered was sold out. So…I guess I’ll be looking at those socks instead! ;-)

  85. Marilyn says:

    Tami, I hope it’s posted on the SDZ panda cam website if Zhen Zhen will not be on exhibit. I would hate to make the long drive from Los Angeles only to find that she is not. I also saw her (last Saturday). Precious, that’s for sure. :)

  86. Susan says:

    Angie, I came back to work today to find your wonderful posting! Thank you for sharing because all of us are anxious for news of Mei Sheng and the lovely Hua Mei…Now if only the Panda staff could manage to rotate a trip to Wolong every three months or so to see Mei Sheng, he would have the best of both of his worlds. Scott sounds like the perfect companion.

    Happy New Year and thank you again.

  87. Frances in NYC says:

    Bloggers 78-81 are right–it was just the cutest thing–Bai Yun and her little mini-me. I even stayed late at work so as not to miss it.

    I am curious as to why panda cam goes dark overnight now rather than showing one of the indoor spaces? I see that Bai Yun and Zhen Zhen are spending time on Bai’s outdoor platform–but I feel like I’m missing all possibility of seeing the nursing bouts. Moderator?

  88. Carole says:

    Frances #71 — My info on Bai Yun came from San Diego Zoo researchers and keepers and Dr Li Desheng (Wolong) that I have been fortunate enough to get to know well. They continue to delight me with their stories of Bai Yun, Gao and the cubs. It has been such an enriching experience.

  89. Maureen in Michigan says:

    #66 Carole – wish I could have been with you to see Miss Z in person.

    Animal Planet had their black & white gala programing yesterday. I watched ” Growing Up Giant Panda” again & agree we are fortunate that the US zoos do not wean their cubs as soon as China does -Zhen needs more time with Bai to learn how to be a panda. Also noticed this time how the keepers are worse than mommy when it comes to the cubs natural behavior – they tried to help the cubs climb & cushion their falls – seems too much ” hands on” .

    Miss Z was really zooming around today -even after Zhen & Bai ” ate” their bamboo the next thing I saw was Zhen playing with Bai on the ledge & when poor Bai left Zhen continued to play with her feet. Not much nap time today

  90. Pat in Milwaukee says:

    For those who are interested in the Panda Calendar, you can purchase it directly from the National Geographic website. (There is no discount though) It is $12.99 plus $4.95 shipping.

  91. Margot says:

    Happy New Year to everyone at SDZ and fellow bloggers. What a joy it is to log on in the morning and see Little Miss Ball of Fur draped over a tree branch. She certainly has progressed quickly.

    Thank you Angie for the charming story of your stay in Wolong. I could easily visualize Mei Sheng getting his back scratches and tummy rubs. Even better was hearing how well cared for he is. The torch has been passed but I feel that Mei Sheng will never forget the people at SDZ who, like yourself, have showered him with love and care. From the story about Mei Sheng adjusting well to his new home and Hua Mei thriving with her cubs, to the reports of ZZ’s adventures on exhibit, to the ongoing pleasures of watching Gao Gao and Su Lin, it seems like the SDZ panda family is doing wonderfully well. Thanks to everyone who has been instrumental in achieving those successes.

  92. pandafan says:

    For those of you who missed the Precious one mimicking mama as described on postings #78, 79, 80, 81, and 82, there is a clip of it on youtube which was posted just yesterday. Sign on to youtube.com and do a search on ” panda zhen” then sort by ” date added” and find the one called ” Zhen Zhen January 2, 2008″ . And there is also a great 9+ minutes of Mei Lan and Lun Lun posted yesterday as well – great shots of the goofy Mei playing acrobat and being pestered by mama Lun. Enjoy!!

  93. AC in NYC says:

    Angie, thank you very much for your New Year Treat: keeping us inform about Sheng, and Hua Mei too!!! Althought Scott is a good keeper, I am sure Sheng is very happy to see you again. I wish I am the one who is giving Sheng a long back scratch and belly rub.

    Zhen is too cute in videos/picutres, it’s just too hard to imagine that Princess Zhen is acutally cuter than that in person.

  94. Loriann says:

    In watching Bai and Zhen, it seems Zhen is more independent than Mei Sheng or Su Lin were at this age. That’s my initial reaction. Bai doesn’t seem as ” close” as far as proximity to Zhen when they’re outside as she has been before with Su Lin and Mei Sheng. Is this my imagination playing tricks on me? Bai is an excellent mother- perhaps that confidence mixed with Zhen’s independence is what I’m seeing? I haven’t seen any really good play sessions as I have before at this age. Of course, they have their own personalities, just like we do as humans. It is very interesting to watch them interact. Can’t wait to see them late next week for myself.

  95. Loriann says:

    Happy 5 month birthday Zhen Zhen!

  96. Chari Mercier says:

    Hey, you all! I just realized something today! This is ZZ’s five month old birthday today, Jan.3!!! Happy Birthday, ZZ!! Just watched her on the pandacam, and she’s outside with her mom exploring, trying to climb tree trunks, running after mom, just being her playful self. She still has to work on some balance on those logs, but she’ll get there! Gotta go and get my laundry, but had to write in to say Happy 5 month Birthday to Miss ZZ!

    Will check in later,

    Chari Mercier :)

    St. Pete, FL

  97. Kathi says:

    Happy New Year to all the pandaholics!

    If you go to the flickr website and do a search for Zhen Zhen, there are lots of great photos of her! She’s so adorable, I can ” bearly” stand it! :-)

  98. Frances in NYC says:

    Carole #88–You are very lucky indeed to have so many distinguished sources! Thank you for sharing your inside info with the rest of us. But does that mean that Bai Yun was climbing before she was named? Was she named very late?

    Bai and Miss ZZ were very energetic today–Bai was racing around, practically blowing ZZ away in her wake, and Miss ZZ was playing with that little spool thingy (I’m sure it has a real name). More cuteness every day.

  99. Sammi in UK says:

    #84 KK West, yay i found it!. They are lovely photos.

    We have a place in the UK – no pandas or bears, but it’s an ape rescue centre. It’s called Monkey World and we went there in June 2007. It’s a wonderful place. It was set up by an American called Jim Cronin who i believe once worked at SDZ. Sadly he passed away last year with cancer, but his wife Alison and good friend Jeremy are continuing his good work. On Animal Planet they are showing the programmes they made there last year it’s known as Monkey Life.

    I also witnessed little miss Zhen Zhen copying Bai Yun yesterday. It was so funny to watch her keep checking to make sure she was doing exactly what mum was doing. Her character is certainly starting to come out now. She really does have a mischevious side to her.

    When will her next check up be? I keep checking to see the latest report on her progress but the last one i can find is before christmas. I love to watch and listen to her when she does have her check up and wish it were me playing around with her to keep her occupied.

  100. Rita says:

    Have to admit, I love seeing Bai Yun and Zhen Zhen in room C11, just off the den, along with the other room with a platform. Know the zoo is being progressive in allowing their panda’s to stay in their exhibit areas 24/7. Just remember how much I enjoyed watching Mei Sheng and Bai in the rooms where it is so easy to see them interact. Missed that with Su Lin and Bai.

  101. Maureen in Michigan says:

    I’ve been lucky the past two days to see Miss Z zooming all over – this afternoon I watched as she explored all over the exhibit, climbed up her trees -Bai did pull her down a couple of times. Then there was a long nursing session on the platform. After nursing Zhen decided to play but her ” panda bottom” was to close to the edge so she fell off. Bai ambled down the log without checking on her cub. And at this hour Miss Z is in a some sort of a small doorway playing with something. She seems to nap less than other cubs I’ve watched.

  102. Paula says:

    I see Precious is taking to napping high up in the trees! I saw a video of a group of sightseers looking on…I’m sure by now Zhen is used to having her picture taken. In fact…when’s the photo coffee table book coming out? We want Zhen stuff!

    I hope you are all having a great 2008!

    Now, is this cool or what? The San Diego Zoo is saving birds in Hawaii…and we can help! Quoting from the SDZoo January Wish List:

    ” Mahalo and welcome to our January Animal Care Wish List where we are traveling to the tropical Hawaiian Islands all in the name of wildlife conservation. The birds on the list below live at one of our two bird rearing centers in Hawaii. At the centers we hatch and raise endangered hawaiian bird species for release on the various Hawaiian islands.”

    Think of the gorgeous birds we will be helping! The items on the January wish list are very affordable…give what you can!

    Peace,

    Paula in TX

    Moderator’s Note: Find the January 2008 Wishlist Here.

  103. TONYMO says:

    Tonymo is happy, but i still want my bear back.

  104. Carmon Roy says:

    Moderator, is there any way you can add the legend to the time lapse page of which panda is on the different cameras? Since I mostly get to catch up on the activities through that, often I am not sure who I am looking at. It would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Carmon

    Moderator’s note: Good idea, Carmon. We’ll try to get to it soon.

  105. Carole says:

    #99 Rita I wholeheartedly agree. These areas are the best viewing of cub/mother interactions.

  106. Joellen of Iowa City Ia says:

    Dear Angie, thank you for being able to go to China to visit Mei Sheng. It is reassuring to know that he is doing very well and that he remembered you! The power of animals to recall has great beauty and honor.

    Happy New Year to you!

    Sincerely,

    Joellen Megan

  107. Allison says:

    Just to say,that I enjoy recieving the news letter. Keeping up on my favorite animals and also watching the cams. The Panda’s are my very favorite. Updates on your site about Mei Sheng and Hua Mei put a smile on my face. I am so Happy that they are going great and they have a very good keeper. I keep a notebook of my favorite’s and all the info on them that I can get goes into it undr their name. Thank you so much for all that you do to bring these beautiful bears and other animals into our lives and keeping us informed about them.

  108. Maureen in Michigan says:

    I’ve watched Tia Shan, Lani & Zhen since they were born. Mei Xiang & Lun seemed to have many more play sessions with their cubs than Bai. As cute as it is to watch panda cubs explore, climb & bounce along as they walk it’s great fun to see a 15-16 pound cub trying to climb on Mommy’s back, pulling on her ears, squirming away when Mommy pins them to the ground or hanging on as Mommy tries to escape. I wonder why Bai has not shown too much desire to play with Zhen. I’ve seen Zhen try to play on the platform but Bai just ambles off – is it because Bai is older.

  109. Lynette says:

    Thank you so much Angie for your update of Mei Sheng. After watching him for 2 years it’s great to have

    the update of his transition at Wolong. Nice to hear HuaMei is also doing well. It would be great to have

    regular updates on ‘the kids’. Thank you again.

    Little Miss ZZ is a little cutie also……………

  110. Carol says:

    There is the most amazing video compilation posted on youtube — 9+ minutes of Mei Lan and Lun Lun from January 2. They are playing and wrestling and climbing and Mei Lan, the lovable goof, just putting on the best show! Highly recommended!! Some great, shorter clips of our darling Zhen Zhen on there, too.

    Thanks for the tips, pandaholics! That one made my day!!

  111. Grace says:

    Our little Zhen Zhen is having a blast hanging from a tree branch! It looks like she has an enrichment toy to play with as well. What an adventurous girl!

  112. KK West says:

    pandafan #82

    I wonder if it has anything to do with Lun Lun being a first time mother? Maybe that’s why, since it’s first maternal experience, she stayed to close to Mei Lan when Mei began venturing out, climbing, etc.

    Bai has much more experience than Lun Lun does, that’s for sure! ;-)

  113. Candy from Iowa says:

    Sat. at 4:00 PT and Zhen is once again mimicking her Mother move for move sitting and eating (pretend eating)! She is just a perfect miniature of Bai, maybe in temperment too. I love that little girl!

  114. jen says:

    Why has no one mentioned the absence of the necessity to ” skip” past that ghastly robo panda ad?? It’s wonderful to have our cam back!

  115. Frances in NYC says:

    I love that panda cam has been left in C11 tonight, so we’ve been able to see Bai Yun and Zhen Zhen up to their waists (if pandas have waists), dining in a sea of bamboo. Also nursing and playing and Bai sleeping in some very funny positions.

    Like Sammi #98, I’d also like to know when the next video and pictures will be posted?

    And thanks, Kathi #96–those pictures were adorable. Well–how could they not be, considering the subject!

  116. Rita Yokoyama says:

    To KK west #78. National Geographic has a 2008 Panda calendar that has a picture of Mei Sheng on the front when he was a little tike. That might be an acceptable alternative to the SDZ calendar that is sold out. You have my permission to buy the socks too in return for not being able to get the calendar you want. Also Pandas International has a great Panda calendar if you’d like to look at the website.

    Rita Yokoyama

  117. marlene says:

    I know you need sponsorship for the cams, but THANKS! for removing the Robopanda.

  118. Kris says:

    Maureen #108,

    I have seen Bai play with Zhen numerous times. Perhaps you just aren’t looking at panda cam when it is happening? I always worried about Su Lin. After watching Tai Shan pester his mother all the time wanting to play, it seemed to me that Su Lin slept a lot. I even saw Bai wake her up on several occasions to play. It might be that Bai is a little less engaged with playtime now that she is older and has born 4 cubs or it could be that she adjusts to each cubs individual needs. Zhen certainly seems a lot more active and inquisitive to me than Su Lin did.

  119. Frances in NYC says:

    To KK West #78 and Rita Yokohama #116–WWF also has a panda calendar. I bought mine at a large bookstore.

  120. barbara says:

    now that my inventory is done i’ve had the chance to really sit and watch and read everthing i am so amazed at how much Zhen has grown and boy is she ever getting around. I think we have a little tom-boy on our hands. I wish that i could just sit one whole day and watch Zhen and Bai and how they interact with each other. I would like to mention that Tide is selling T-shirts and the profits are split to help the people of San Diego that were affected by the fires and still from hurricane Katrina.

  121. Helen says:

    Hi…just sitting here wondering if there is any news of Mei Sheng from Scott. Sometimes, as the saying goes, ” absence makes the heart grow fonder” is so true..I find it that way anyway. I just wonder how our handsome fellow is doing..do miss him.

  122. Beverly Stapleton says:

    How is Mei Sheng? Saw on internet that he escaped and got into a fight with other pandas and was hurt.

    Also, that Mei Sheng was moved from Wolong. Where is he and is he alright??

    Thank you.