For 12 months, panda fans around the world have seen glimpses of our little panda cub Zhen Zhen on Panda Cam. Many fans ask us for more. You want to see what we see, get to know her as we do. Well, your chance is finally here, thanks to PBS Television! In cooperation with the San Diego Zoo, PBS has produced a TV program that follows our Precious cub from day one to her crazy antics on her first birthday. Panda Tales debuts in San Diego this Sunday, September 7, at 8 p.m. on the local PBS station: KPBS channel 15, cable 11.
I have had the pleasure of watching ZZ from her first veterinary exam. I admit to finding myself cooing when she wiggled her tail or smiling when I heard her vocalize for the first time (see Yadira’s blog, Cooing over the Cub). I worried when she’d take a tumble and I laughed as she bit her mom’s ear. Unlike her dedicated keepers, I’ve only watched ZZ from behind a table or behind the scenes. For her safety and mine, I don’t get to touch or handle the cub. Still, I have to admit that I’ve been pretty lucky as I help to coordinate the documentation and publicity of this little girl. Yes, I have been ZZ’s own publicist and I couldn’t be happier. I have been in the exam room many times and been there before the Zoo opens to see her with no one but her keepers around.
Now it’s time to share! You’ll get to see what I saw during those exams, during her first attempt to climb a tree or the first time she played with a ball. It was caught and you’ve seen short takes on our Web site, but Panda Tales is a fun year in the life of Zhen Zhen. Great music was created just for Panda Tales. And of course, you’ll get a chance to see Bai Yun and Gao Gao as well. You’ll even get a brief look at the ” making of” little ZZ!
So tune in Sunday at 8 p.m. and you’ll be the first to see Panda Tales. You’ll hear from Dr. Ron Swaisgood, co-head of the San Diego Zoo’s Giant Panda Conservation Unit, as he talks to PBS live about the Zoo’s work with pandas in San Diego and China. Dr. Meg Sutherland-Smith, whom I am very jealous of, will also be at KPBS live. Dr. Meg, as we love to call her, was the Zoo’s veterinarian who not only was the first to examine ZZ at two weeks old, but also was the vet who told us Bai was pregnant with ZZ before she gave birth last year.
Yadira Galindo is a public relations representative for the Zoological Society of San Diego.
For panda fans outside of San Diego, Panda Tales will be distributed nationwide, but will not be available for broadcast in other markets until November 30, 2008. PBS stations will be putting together their November and December schedules in a few weeks, so check with your local station after that to see when they have the show scheduled.
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