A team of animal care staff (Chris Hamlin, Jen Moll, Amy Alfrey) left their usual workplace at the San Diego Zoo’s koala barn to help us with our koala conservation project in Australia on St. Bees Island (see Bill Ellis’s blog Koala Team Sets New Mark on the Knoll). On this particular day, our goal was to catch Murray (pictured), an adult male, in order to remove his GPS collar and find out where he had been wandering over the last few months.
Archive for 2007
Little Zhen Zhen is doing well and charming anyone who crosses her path. In the last two weeks, her walking skills have come online, and she is able to get her belly up off the ground well as she traverses the obstacles in her surroundings. She is routinely coming out of the den under her own power, exploring her bedroom or sunroom area, and often chooses to nap in the bedroom instead of returning to the den.
Five years ago, four infant gorillas were smuggled out of Cameroon, and through a long and mostly unknown chain of events they eventually arrived in a zoo in Malaysia. Their new keepers were under the impression that the gorillas originated from a captive breeding program in Nigeria. Such a program does not exist, however, and suspicions were soon aroused that the gorillas were not acquired legally. Trafficking in wild-born gorillas is strictly forbidden by the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and genetic analyses quickly and decisively exposed the real origin of the gorillas as being Cameroonian.
Ngami and Ghanzi, our dominant female and male, have been very busy (see Laura’s previous blog, Meet the Meerkats). Just recently, they had their fifth litter. So you would think we would have more than just the four juveniles in the meerkat exhibit on Elephant Mesa. Unfortunately this group of meerkats seems to have some issues raising babies.
Last week, I was able to spend the day working at Lion Camp at the Wild Animal Park and had a wonderful time watching all seven cubs as I worked. They are developing very quickly. Oshana’s four cubs are a few days older than Mina’s litter of three, but their younger half-siblings aren’t too far behind. They are now all walking pretty well, if still wobbly. They are also starting to play clumsily with the enrichment items we provide, as well as with each other. Very small logs seem to be favored items, light enough to roll around and climb on. One of Oshana’s brood blundered into a cardboard box, one of their mother’s favorite toys. He walked around for awhile wearing the box like a turtle’s shell, but eventually found his way out. Oshana watched, but was unconcerned.
Giant panda Mei Sheng moved to Wolong, China on November 5, 2007. Lisa Bryant of the San Diego Zoo accompanied him on his journey and is sharing the trip with us through blog installments. See Lisa’s previous blog, Mei Sheng: A Smaller Crate.
I did not see Mei Sheng at the airport. By the time we boarded the plane he was already in the hold. The flight to Chengdu was a little over three hours. I was not on the tarmac, but from the airport we could see him unloaded from the plane. Lots of people were trying to get a glimpse at the American-born panda coming to China to participate in giant panda conservation in China. He made it to his travel truck, ready for the three- to four-hour drive to the Wolong Giant Panda Research Facility. We got to see him at that point; he was resting in the crate. All of his luggage was still with him. The media were still with him as well. Lots more media. Reporters were calling me by name. Our boy Sheng’s arrival was quite a big deal. The media, still anxious to tell his story, wanted to see him and know how he was holding up. Thank goodness for Dr. Desheng. He appeared to be very familiar with the media and able to give them just what they needed to satisfy their curiosity without compromising Mei Sheng’s comfort.
As I am sure you can imagine, life has been a lot different at Lion Camp at the Wild Animal Park since the newest additions made their appearance (see previous blog, Quick Lion Cub Update). All seven cubs are doing great! They are little piglets and are without a doubt the roundest lions I have ever seen! The cubs are fast becoming mobile and are no longer spending the majority of their time in the dens but are instead exploring the house, under a watchful eye from their mothers, of course! Oshana’s cubs, being four days older, are a little more precocious, but Mina’s are developing quickly. Soon I am sure there will be no distinguishable difference between the two litters.
Giant panda Mei Sheng moved to Wolong, China on November 5, 2007. Lisa Bryant of the San Diego Zoo accompanied him on his journey and is sharing the trip with us through blog installments. See Lisa’s previous blog, Mei Sheng’s First Night in China.
Hi, everyone. I last wrote about Mei Sheng’s overnight stay in Shanghai where we witnessed him go from demure, sweet boy panda to a big boy panda. After we had gotten Mei Sheng all settled in for the night, Dr. Desheng and the Chinese keepers asked for our assistance in getting Sheng ready for the last leg of his trip. We needed to leave our overnight accommodations in Shanghai and fly to Chengdu in the morning. We were flying commercially and our plane was sizeable but smaller than the cargo plane we’d started on. What that meant was a crate change for Sheng. As you can imagine, it had to be a smaller crate than he had traveled in this far. Would he go willingly? was all I thought about for those 4 to 5 hours of sleep. (more…)
At last, cub #4 has a name: Zhen Zhen, meaning “precious” in the Mandarin dialect (look below for the Chinese characters for her name). We want to thank everyone who participated in the naming process, from the 2,400 names submitted by San Diego Zoo visitors to the online naming poll available to panda lovers worldwide to determine the winning name from four choices. Our poll generated over 50,000 votes, with Zhen Zhen receiving 36 percent of the vote. The official name was unveiled today during a special panda naming ceremony held at the Zoo’s Hunte Amphitheater. See video link at the top of this paragraph. (more…)
Giant panda Mei Sheng moved to Wolong, China on November 5, 2007. Lisa Bryant of the San Diego Zoo accompanied him on his journey and is sharing the trip with us through blog installments. See Lisa’s previous blog, Mei Sheng, Our Precious Cargo.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I was so surprised to hear from so many panda fans. I consider myself a bit of a “compu-phobe.” That is, I do what I need to on the computer: nothing more, nothing less. I was touched to know our pandas have such a genuine following in all of you. It was great to know how many well wishes for a safe and uneventful trip were sent our way. Thank you.