That Right-Hand Exhibit

Posted at 5:35 pm December 29, 2008 by Ellie Rosenbaum

Astute watchers of Panda Cam will have noticed that Su Lin has replaced Gao Gao in the right-hand viewing area at the San Diego Zoo’s Giant Panda Research Station; but what is it about that place? During the recent cold rains, not two days into her tenure there, we were treated to a wild round of rain romping. Since it was a holiday week, there were lots of visitors there in spite of the rain, and her antics even brought the keepers out to watch the fun. It has been a while since Su Lin was inspired to this kind of swinging, climbing foul-weather play, and as she continues to get bigger and stronger, it becomes more elaborate and enjoyable for all of us.

After such an energetic morning, one would expect even a young panda to “lie low” and rest up the next day, but once again, Su Lin was on a tear. You may recall her rambunctious roamings up and down the trees earlier this year, resulting in a bamboo tug-of-war with her keepers and some immediate, major tree removal and pruning to keep her safe (see Ellie’s blog, Decorating Diva Strikes Again). Let it not be said that any amount of pruning can foil Su Lin’s efforts to reach the bamboo of her dreams; she was at it again, this time dangling from the small pine tree, which was bowing under her weight, to reach that elusive but tempting bamboo at the back in the keeper area. Oh, she tried the backward-arching reach from the poplar to get to the plantings atop the separating wall, without success. She had the same result for the trailing bamboo hanging into the exhibit, stretch as she might. It seemed as if the size of the pine tree might have prevented her from reaching, but no, this clever youngster began to reel in the tall shaft by grabbing the leaves and branches and hauling, hand over hand, until she grasped the elusive culm. Suspended halfway between tree and ‘boo, it took a quick scramble to execute a recovery, but it was time to alert her keepers. (It is, after all, all about her safety, as much as I hate to spoil her fun.)

So our “Decor Diva” continues her tradition of inspiring change in her locations. We’re watching with interest as her activities slowly but surely crush the newly planted bushes and wondering what else can inspire her to mischief.

Ellie Rosenbaum is a panda narrator at the San Diego Zoo.

Moderator’s note: We are thrilled to announce that as of 3:55 p.m. this afternoon we have every dollar we need to fund the new bamboo cooler for our giant pandas. We can’t thank all of you enough for helping us reach our goal of $112,550 in just two weeks! In the coming months, we will be sure to post pictures of the bamboo cooler construction and installation. From all of us here – especially from Su Lin, Zhen Zhen, Gao Gao, and Bai Yun – thank you all again and have a Happy New Year!

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

123 Responses to “That Right-Hand Exhibit”

  1. Rose N. says:

    Thank you Moderator and thank you Marla, (email received at 4:45 PM), for the wonderful news. πŸ™‚

    Yippee, we now have a new bamboo cooler. Someone with Christmas spirit came through with the best Christmas gift for all our beautiful pandas. The goal has been met and now the bamboo cooler is a reality. I can’t wait to see the pictures of the construction and installation of the new bamboo cooler. Also, what a great way to start the New Year!

    Hi Ellie – Thanks for another wondeful blog. Su Lin is without a doubt becoming a star attraction in “that right-hand exhibit”. She never ceases to amaze me with all her contortions; Recently, I mentioned that while watching Su Lin she was full of vim, vigor and vitality. She was racing around her exhibit and climbing up and down the trees. I watched as she reared up on her hind legs, jumping and rolling over and over. Running in and out of the hollowed-out tree and splashing through her pool. She was in perpetual motion. Su Lin is truly a joy to watch especially when she is so rambunctious. The visitors that were there that day were very lucky indeed. I know I wished I were there during her high jinks.

  2. Chari Mercier says:

    Hi!! WOW!!! Did I say in my last comments that if you couldn’t get the bamboo cooler in by Christmas that the cooler could wind up coming in as a New Year’s present?? I sure did, and by golly, you all pulled it off! I called it!! CONGRATS!! I knew that the last few thousand bucks would come in pretty quick despite this yukky economy because a whole lot of people saw a real need for the new boo cooler that will be working real good and keeping the boo cool until the keepers pull it out to feed the pandas. You all did an awesome job in raising the money, so pat yourselves on the back and give yourselves some applause! Great work, you all!

    I read this latest update from Ellie, and wow! Su Lin has been having a whole lot of fun lately in her yard in the rain! It looks like the keepers are going to be very busy doing maintenance, repairs, and pruning of the plants if Su keeps up her wild antics. Unfortunately, I had to miss that on the cam because I had a doctor appointment today that lasted awhile, then coming home by bus also took awhile! Plus, I had to wait on my 16 year old son to finish his computer game. I did get on the SDZ cam earlier this morning before I left, and saw ZZ doing some crazy acrobatics coming off a big tree branch, then she wandered over to where her mom, Bai, was sitting eating her boo. ZZ got a stalk of boo from the pile and sat by her mom to eat her breakfast. That was a very cute picture of mom and daughter eating together! Good cam work, Meerkats!

    Well, China just can’t seem to shake off the earthquakes. There was an earthquake on the Sichuan/Ginsu Province border that measured a 5.0 magnitude. This quake was shallow at 6 miles deep and was NW of the Chengdu/Wolong areas by a couple of hundred miles or so. That was a fortunate thing, because both Chengdu and Wolong could not stand another strong quake at this time with their rebuilding going on right now and the winter weather.

    Can’t remember the name of the person, but someone wrote a letter to the newspaper editor about the AZ pandacam, and she’s hoping to get a response from the paper about it. Hopefully, that will get a lot of people in the Atlanta, Georgia, area interested in saving the AZ pandacam from reading about it in the newspaper. Great idea! Hope that works!!

    Well, not much else going on. Gonna go, but will check in later on.


    Chari Mercier πŸ™‚

    St. Pete, FL

  3. Susan (UK) says:

    I love to hear about Su Lin’s climbing adventures. Those of us with pets know how funny and wonderful it is when they go mad – usually when it’s going to be very windy or wet. Watching them climb is amazing in itself as they look rather cumbersome to be sprinting up trees.

    Animal Planet UK is repeating two Panda programmes (thank goodness as I missed them first time round and have been frantically looking through the TV listings hoping they would be repeated), one about the Wolong earthquake and aftermath and the other about Mei Lan and family. It will be recorded and kept for ever! All I need now is Panda Tales on DVD.

    I just posted on the previous blog regarding the cooler but I’ll say it again, because it’s fantastic news – Congratulations on reaching the cooler target. Well done to everyone.

  4. Rose N. says:

    Panda Fans – In my previous blog #21, I mentioned a panda escape video. Due to the fact that the internet is constantly changing, this video has been relocated.

    The new location is…


    I hope you enjoy this video as much as I did. There is one baby panda that just won’t give up his escape attempts. It’s very, very cute.

  5. Lee in Vancouver says:

    Did anyone catch Su Lin’s antics on video? If so, maybe it can be posted as I’d love to see it. So many things seem out of our reach until we try to do them. Su Lin is just the same.

    Congratulation on the cooler fund. We all did our part.

  6. Lynda, Lansing, Michigan says:

    Okay fellow pandaholics! Have you checked the Zoo Atlanta site today (12/30)?? Xi Lan as of today is on exhibit in the day room after 10:00 am! He is “motoring” around well enough and following mom into there that they have decided to “let him stay”!! Such a cute little fluffer butt!!

    I want to wish everyone a Very Happy, Healthy New Year! Let’s keep our fingers crossed form more than 1 panda baby in the U.S. in 2009!! Maybe NZ will have one in 2009!! Thank you again to all the panda keepers for all that you do on a daily basis! You are all worth your weight in Gold!

    Happy holidays everyone! (p.s. – are there any updates on Mei Sheng?? I’m behind in reading all the blog entries so I apologize if I missed something!)

  7. Marti in OR says:

    Hooray for us Pandalovers!! Who knew so much $ could be raised so quickly in these uncertain times? Shows how much we LOVE those pandas and care about their continued excellent care!

    I read the 2 Panda Claws poems (thanks for your links), they are so creative and clever! Hope Pamela their creator gets well again; wish I were an artist and could illustrate them in little books (to be sold in the gift shops, profits to the panda center of course!). Anyone capable of this? It would be popular with us pandafans (and grandmas) everywhere! XL in Atlanta is enjoying the hammock now, so adorable, watch him while we can.

  8. Linda A. says:

    Great news on the cooler!!!!

    Love the story of Su Lin. Thank you for posting it. I wish I had been able to see that determination. How did you rescue her? Or did she recover on her own? I adore that girl. She is still my screen saver (which I thank SDZ for making that available).

    I did receive confirmation from the Atlanta newspaper staff writer that he received my email (regarding the ZA panda cam). Perhaps I’ll hear back from him?

  9. Joy :) says:

    Su Lin is such a great decorator and is certainly persistent.

    I saw Tai Shan in DC doing a similar “forbidden bamboo reach” 2 weeks ago when I visitied him. He did not have the commitment that Su did, Tai quit after 2 tries ending with a pawful of leaves. Then he went and ate some of the ornamental grasses that were growing right in front of his den, no reaching required.

    I’m thrilled to hear about the bamboo cooler. I was not able to contribute, but I prayed that you would receive the necessary funds. I’m glad to hear you reached the goal and the pandas can enjoy their cooled bamboo. I know I don’t like warm salad. I imagine it might even be a bit difficult for Gao Gao to like warmed bamboo.

    So much good news in PandaLand. I am enjoying it all!

    Love, Joy πŸ™‚

  10. marcia519 says:

    I just read the Panda Claws poems. The one from last year made me cry – seriously. When I read the part about Mei Sheng kissing Bai’s nose and telling her that all her panda babies loved her….oh my gosh….

    I sincerely hope Pamela (the author) makes a full recovery. Of course I hope she gets well for her own sake, but also because she is really talented. Her poems are just magical. Between her and P Wong, they could publish some awesome books!

  11. Rose N. says:

    Response from ZA – While watching the AZ panda cam last Friday, Dec. 26th, I saw Lun Lun drop Xi Lan from the climbing structure. I immediately e-mailed the AZ expressing my concern. I requested that they put a hammock in the climbing structure so that Lun Lun could nurse comfortably and safely. Happily, I just received the following reply.

    “Hello, Rose. With the holidays, we are just getting around to your email. Many apologies. If you have been watching the Panda Cam, I’m sure you’ve seen the hammock. We are so glad that now the cub is safe and can nurse comfortably. Please come visit him!!!”

    This shows that our comments are taken into account. I am certain that many other panda fans saw Xi Lan fall from the wood structure and also wrote about their concerns. Thankfully, the hammock is in place. πŸ™‚

    PS – Still no response regarding their panda cam!

  12. Linda A. says:

    While I haven’t heard back from the staff reporter at the AJC, I did a search on the site, and found what appeared to be an editorial. It was entitled “The Vent” I think. Anyway, it discusses some of the issues facing Atlanta (many of the same issues we have in every community), but it states something to the effect that “if the CEO at ZA would take a pay cut, we could keep our panda cam.” It was heartening to know that whomever wrote it felt it was “their” cam. So they do care there. I’m very glad about that. I’m glad Rose got a response from the Zoo.

    Sorry, sorry! I’m obsessing and I’m sorry. But Xi Lan is at that stage that his personality is developing, and he is so darn cute. I’m not willing to give up yet.

    I am so grateful to SDZ for allowing us to be able to watch our amazing pandas, for allowing us to post here, and for allowing “us” to help with the needs of the pandas. The donations I made were an honor and were sent with much love. I wish ZA would actively seek our help. So thank you again, SDZ. And I saw Panda Tales in high def the other night. Oh my gosh, it was even better! Didn’t think that was possible.

  13. Pam T says:

    Hooray on the bamboo cooler so glad to hear you got all the fund to get a new one. And many thanks to the moderator for posting the links to Pam G’s Panda Claws poems they were great.

    Yes baby Xi is now on display in the dayroom he growning so fast and if things don’t work out we’re going to miss all of it. It makes it bad for those of us who can’t travel to see the pandas in person the cams is our God sent to their world. I just keep praying everything will work out.

    Just like all the antics of Su Lin and all the other pandas sometimes we are lucky and the cameras are on them and we can have a good laugh or if nothing else a big smile to brighten our days.

  14. Widget says:

    #10…I get a twizzle in my nose and my eyes water when I read that part too…glad I’m not the only one….about the ‘boo cooler..I just about bored my family silly on Christmas Day telling everyone about the panda antics, cams, and the crisis of the bamboo cooler. I think a couple of them donated just to shut me up about it. I just love these panda’s. I watched Lun Lun drag Xi Lan all over the floor, over the bamboo, from room to room today and had to turn it off because I was so afraid she was going to hurt him. She just wouldn’t leave him alone. I hope everyone in Panda Land has a happy, healthy, New Year!!

  15. P Wong says:

    Conversation with Gao Gao #52

    ‘Twas mere days before ‘Years Eve, when all thro’ the land

    Creatures astir, Father Time now at hand.

    Take down all the stockings, sweep all the floors,

    Rebuild all the thresholds, repaint all the doors.

    Then repair to Panda Canyon, creatures great and small,

    To make honeyed plum candies, scent blocks stacked tall,

    They tie bamboo bunches, adorned with white phlox.

    Then Gao Gao proclaims, perched high on a box.

    Bamboo cooler’s in transit.

    Let’s all sing about it.

    Oh, let us celebrate, come one and come all.

    We thank all our donors, supporters on call,

    We cheer all our bloggers, with gusto galore.

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you to all!

    Oh, let us celebrate, come one and come all.

    There’s Bai Yun, there’s Su Lin, and Zhen Zhen on a ball.

    We lift up our voices, loud voices encore.

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you to all!

  16. Susan (UK) says:

    Happy New Year – hope it’s a good one – to everyone and all animals at the SDZ.

    Bobbie, thanks for the link to Xi Lan’s flying lesson, I shall look forward to watching that.

    It’s been a great year for me, what with a totally unplanned trip to the SDZ. I’ve been babbling on about it to everyone for months now. Love the animals, love the people, love San Diego.

  17. Cat says:

    Fellow pandaholics, I’ve just discovered a new site that has tons of wonderful pictures of pandas in China – including one of a panda, on his back, sliding down a snowy slope. Search for Heather Angel and photographer. She’s a British photographer who has been travelling to China for over 20 years, deliberately seeking out sites and animals that the usual tourist doesn’t get to see.

    I’m so glad the ‘boo cooler can now be replaced. And that we get to keep our precious pandas for a while longer. Thanks to everyone at the SDZ for their tireless care of these darling animals. And Pamela, please take care of yourself. You’re a valued member of our group.

    Happy New Year.

  18. Carol says:

    A very Happy New Year to all!! And, such wonderful news about the ‘boo cooler! We pandaholics will always have your back, SDZ!

    And, there’s a stunning new announcement on ZA PandaCam page, sounds like they are getting closer to a deal that will allow us all to keep watching baby Xi Lan. Woo hoo!

  19. Linda A. says:

    I, as I’m sure many of you, just read on the ZA website that the cam will go dark today but they may have a sponsorship coming! I am so excited!

    It was so fun watching Bai and ZZ this morning, eating side by side. What a gorgeous mommy and daughter.

  20. francie bowers says:

    Happy New Year to all Panda Fans, it has been exciting! congratulations on the new bamboo cooler also. It has been a wild year for Pandas and panda lovers, the earthquake in China, new babies, etc. I can’t help but think how wonderful the Panda community is…the keepers are beyond amazing. If it weren’t for loving human intervention our Little Xi Lan from AZ would not be here…hopefully their PandaCam will be restored, this is the time when we don’t want to miss a moment of cub & mom antics. May 2009 bring peace & health to all.

  21. Linda A. says:

    P. Wong, another delightful entry. Thank you!

  22. Kris says:

    P Wong (#15) Very nice! Always enjoy Gao Gao’s conversations with Mr. Tourist. So glad the panda’s are staying and the new boo cooler is on it’s way. Still have my fingers crossed for the AZ panda cam to continue. 2008 was a particularily challenging year for me. I am hoping 2009 will be MUCH better!! Happy New Year to all!! Be safe! πŸ™‚

  23. Rose N. says:

    Happy New Year to Everyone!

    We finally have some wonderful news from ZA. They are actively pursuing sponsorship opportunities that could potentially enable the return of their panda cam. Check their site often for special announcements. This time I believe it will happen. πŸ™‚

    Dreams do come true – our pandas will soon have a new bamboo cooler and if all goes well, we will be able to watch Xi Lan grow up.

  24. Widget says:

    P Wong….absolutely wonderful poem as usual. I got that twizzle in my nose and watery eyes while reading it. You have such a gift for putting words and thoughts together. May you, and all of our great panda people, who united once again to get a bamboo cooler, have a wonderful New Year. I hope, with reading the AZ website that we will be able to watch XiLan and Lun Lun in the coming months. I think that is another place that our panda people let them know what we thought of them closing the site with emails and phone calls. United we stand! Love and blessings to all!

  25. Lee in Vancouver says:

    P Wong, thank you for Gao Gao’s conversation/song. Loved it! Whenever I read you entries I get a big grin on my face and everyone at work knows it is panda related. Please keep them coming.

    Happy New Year everyone.

  26. Pam T. says:

    #15 P Wong thank you so much for the New Year’s eve poem from the SDZ pandas thanking everyone for their new cooler.

    I see the NZ pandas are having a fruit ice treat for the New Year’s eve party. But on the cam at AZ the last day, all we are seeing is tons of bamboo and maybe little Xi under it. The MZ panda cam is down for maintance. But the SDZ is up and running great with momma and ZZ naping peacefully waiting for the new year.

    Well Happy New Year to all the SDZ staff and panda fans

    All the best

    Pam T.

  27. barbara says:

    Happy New Year to all, My it be a happy, healthy and joyus New Year, We have had a hard year and I’m sure things will be better this year.

  28. Suzanne (the other one) says:

    #15 P Wong – beautiful! I now have tears in my eyes (ok, again)!

    I actually ended up feeling sorry for the ZA cam operator this morning – Lun Lun just kept dragging Xi Lan around, and around, and up and down, and in and out and around…. exhausting! I loved the one shot where she left him for a minute. He got his front end up on the log over by the wall, and was (I think) trying to go over the top! Lun Lun came back and grabbed him… by the scruff of his fluffy butt! She pulled and pulled (reminded me of Tai Shan’s first outing and Mei trying to pull him off a tree limb). She finally got to his front (I think she pulled his front paws off) and got him off. Then, off on the rounds again… and again… and again! I’m exhausted! And, wondering how much fur the little guy has left on his tummy and his neck! Tough little panda critters (thank goodness).

    Congrats all on the panda cooler!

    Happy New Year to all, and may it be filled with pandas, cams, panda babies and more for all!

  29. Melissa says:

    I’m so happy that SDZ shares its panda family with all of us around the country and around the world. Being able to share their lives at any given moment of the day is almost as gratifying as sharing my home with pets. The pandas are quite dear to me!

    Lun is so endearing. She tries to “save” Xi Lan from hurting himself when he ventures out and climbs around, yet she drags him around everywhere, hither and yon. It makes me giggle but I know that the little guy is so much tougher than human babies are and I remind myself that pandas have their own way of doing things that seems so foreign to our human minds. It is fascinating to watch their interaction and see the wheels turn in Lun’s head. How exciting to think that ZA might find a sponsor for their cam so we can watch little Xi! He is proving to be such a toughie despite his shaky start and will have quite a personality with Lun and Yang as parents, Mei Lan as big sister, and Mei Xiang as his auntie.

    I wish a Happy New Year to the SDZ panda family, staff, keepers, volunteers, narrators, and moderators. (I hope I didn’t forget anyone!) Happy New Year to all my fellow panda fans. May everyone enjoy the best of health, the best of times and much panda joy in 2009. Cheers! (Insert panda bleating here!) πŸ™‚

  30. Suzanne (the other one) says:

    12:20 PST and I’m watching such a touching Bai/ZZ nursing session. Bittersweet indeed, not seeing them very often and knowing they won’t be going on much longer!

    Back to the cams!

  31. JR in VA says:

    Thanks P. Wong for the wonderful poem. Loved it. I am thrilled bout the bamboo cooler. Panda lovers do band together and get done what needs done for our precious animals. They sure have a way of putting a smile on your face. Happy New Year to all.

  32. Frances in NYC says:

    Yay! We did it! Finally caught up to the new blog while I was watching Miss ZZ trying and trying to get Bai to roll over–finally she is (and we are) rewarded with a nursing session. They are such persistent little creatures, panda cubs.

    Thanks, P Wong, for the happy song. I would think the pandas could work up a celebratory song and dance or two when the new cooler is installed.

    And there’s Su Lin, up the trees, through the flowers, and now playing in the pool–lovely to see her kicking up her heels too.

    Happy New Year to pandas and panda people everywhere! May 2009 bring happiness, no more earthquakes, peace, cubs, and happiness to all.

  33. Margaret says:

    Wow! What a wonderful climbing structure for Su Lin. She seems to really be enjoying the twists and turns.

  34. Chari Mercier says:

    Dec. 31, 2008. Hi! HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!!!!!

    Well, 2008 has been a very challenging year at best, you all! All of us has been thru the crazy rollercoaster of emotions thru this whole year starting with 2 out of the 4 momma pandas at the 4 US zoos having AI procedures done, then all of us going thru some crazy emotional ups and downs when Mei Xiang was not pregnant and Lun Lun had her baby boy. Then more emotional upheavals when Sichuan Province, China, had that devastating 7.9 earthquake on May 12. Then, everybody from the US and around the world started the fundraising efforts to get Wolong Reasearch Center rebuilt in a new location and helping the Chinese people in general. Back to Lun’s baby panda, we all went thru that scary first 3 weeks when the little guy had some health issues that required some incubator time until he has gained weight and was strong enough to go back to mom. Towards the middle of 2008, we all were fighting very high gas prices, very high oil prices, mortgage crisis, debt crisis, and a huge tumble of the stock markets that has put the US into a pretty deep recession. Despite all of that, people flocked to the 4 zoos that are housing these lovely pandas, watching the pandacams, and enjoying them for who they are. Pandas International gave us about 20 updates on the status of Wolong and the pandas after the earthquake, and was even on NBC news’ Today Show. We remember those Wolong workers that were lost in the quake and the 2 pandas that lost their lives in the quake. Since then, rebuilding has started, and building expansions were ongoing at Chengdu and Bifengxia to house the rescued Wolong pandas. In August the Baijing Summer Olympics not only showcased the wonderful athletic talent of the world’s athletes, but Baijing Zoo had 8 wonderful male and female pandas from Wolong on exhibit for people to come and see them as well as learn of the conservation efforts to keep them from extinction. Here in the US, we have been watching everyday on the AZ pandacam to see the only panda cub born in the US this year, Xi Lan. He is now at 14 1/2 pounds and walking pretty well. He’s even beat the debut date because his mom, Lun, felt that it was a great time during Christmas to bring him into the dayroom for everyone to see him! The sad news is that the AZ pandacam will be offline after today (12/31/2008) until AZ is able to find a new sponsor for the cam. The craziest thing about female pandas this year was Ya Ya at the Memphis Zoo! She did not have any kind of estrus season AT ALL THIS YEAR!!!!! That baffled everybody everywhere! Hoping that Ya Ya will get it together in 2009, go into estrus, and hopefully be pregnant with her first panda baby! SDZ’s panda cubs, ZZ, turned one year old, Su Lin turned 3 years old, NZ’s Tai Shan turned 3 years old, and AZ’s Mei Lan turned 2 years old this year. The great news from SDZ is that Bai Yun and Gao Gao will be staying there for another 4-5 years for us to enjoy in person and on the pandacam. Oh yeah, AZ’s Xi Lan is now 4 months old as of yesterday (12/30/2008). All of the pandas in all 4 zoos are in great health and enjoying life going into 2009!

    P Wong, your poem was great using the Nite before New Year’s Eve theme taking after the original Nite before Christmas. Neat poem and very enjoyable! Thanks!

    Well, here’s hoping and praying that 2009 will be a much better year for all of us, all of the animals in all of the zoos, and the US economy with a new President coming in on Jan. 20, 2009. I’m also hoping that Bai Yun, Mei Xiang, and Ya Ya will all have baby pandas by next summer, 2009, and that the AZ pandacam will be back online very soon with a long term sponsor!

    And last but not least, the wonderful way that everybody pulled together to help SDZ get enough money for the new bamboo cooler that they needed so badly! YEA!!!

    Gonna go and order some pizza for all of us here at home. My husband and I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary today! Have a great safe nite tonite, and a very nice quiet New Year’s Day tomorrow (including all of the football games)!!

    Love to all of the pandas everywhere,

    Chari Mercier πŸ™‚

    St. Pete, FL

    Moderator’s note: Happy anniversary, Chari!

  35. Bobbie Wood says:

    HAPPY 2009 TO ALL!!!!! May the New Year bring Good wishes, Happiness, Health, Peace and Grand Fun visiting/watching the Pandas and other beautiful creatures everywhere!

  36. Chari Mercier says:

    Hi again! Been on both the SDZ and AZ pandacams this morning and afternoon. This morning, got on the AZ pandacam and watched little Xi Lan walking aroung the dayroom while Lun ate her breakfast of boo, then after she was done, she found Xi under the hammock, grabbed him on the scruff of the neck, and hauled him up on the hammock. Yes, the hammock is back!!! They both had some play time for awhile, then Xi wanted to do some more nursing even tho he had his breakfast a while back! Then, I got back on the AZ cam after coming back home from running errands, and saw the little guy back in the den napping.

    And, the pink color on Xi Lan’s neck is Lun’s saliva staining his fur while she picks him up by the neck scruff. That will go away when Xi gets too big for Lun to pick up anymore! That was it on the AZ cam when it shut down at 5pm EST!

    I got on the SDZ pandacam this morning and watched ZZ and Bai eating their breakfast boo together. ZZ is finally mastering the art of breaking bamboo stalks in two pieces! Then, I got on the cam in the afternoon, and there was ZZ up in her favorite fat tree branch napping!

    The sad part of the day was watching the AZ pandacam for the last time until they are able to get a new sponsor in to help pay for the cam. AZ panda keepers are reminding us in their statement to keep checking back in to see what they are able to do about the cam.

    That’s it on the pandacams. Will check back in later on! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

    Chari Mercier πŸ™‚

    St. Pete, FL

  37. Pam T. says:

    I see Su Lin such a pretty girl is busy looking for the new year she has been all over her encloser.

    Well it’s over for the AZ webcam but I hope it won’t be for long. I got an email from them today saying they are working hard to get a new sponsor and not to delete them from my favorites.

    Well tomorrow is another year I hope it brings good health and much wealth to everyone.

  38. marcia519 says:

    Thanks, P. Wong, for the great song. What a wonderful way to close out the year.

    Happy New Year to all you wonderful fellow panda people! I hope 2009 is full of panda adventures for all our beloved bears and lots of new panda babies.

  39. Margaret says:

    Sounds like it will indeed be a SAFE, Healthy, and Happy New Year in San Diego Zoo after all. Congratulations on reaching the necessary goal to acquire the much needed new ‘boo cooler.

    Happy New Year everyone!

  40. Rose N. says:

    Today, I was lucky to see all four of our beautiful pandas. I want to thank the Meerkats for the excellent cam work and the awesome close-ups.

    There were many memorable moments during the day that make me smile:

    Gao Gao eating breakfast – So adorable.

    Bai Yun nursing Zhen Zhen, – (I am not looking forward to the weaning process.)

    Su Lin wading and soaking in her pool and delighting the visitors with her antics.

    Su Lin, the DΓ©cor Diva, running, jumping and flattening the bushes. πŸ™‚

    Later in the day Gao Gao was back on camera eating a large piece of bamboo culm. He looked so happy and content.

    As I checked on the cam various times during the day, our four pandas never ceased to entertain. I love them all. πŸ™‚

    A Very Happy 2009 to all the Panda Staff & all the Panda Bloggers!

  41. Dianne in Texas says:

    What a wonderful way to end the old year and bring in another. Perseverance does indeed pay off! Congrats to all for your dedication in getting the much needed cooler for the bamboo. I had a few days of wondering if it would happen in time. But, not to worry. All us pandaholics would never let our beautiful pandas and their keepers down. (I’m glad I was able to donate.) P Wong, your poetic words usually bring big smiles and chuckles. However, this last song has a hint of melancholy blended with the humor; enough to bring a tightness to the back of the throat. It is a beautiful song of gratitude. Thank you. My wishes for all of you are for a healthy, happy, prosperous 2009. For me, this comment page presents a renewal of faith in human nature and kindness, to read all of your loving, caring comments. To the entire staff at San Diego Zoo, warmest wishes for a wonderful new year. May 2009 have no fires or floods. (Or plane crashes!)

  42. Maureen in Michigan says:

    What a year 2008 was for the panda lovers ….Miss Z charming all of us, the horrific earthquakes in China & the still unknown damage to the wild panda reserves…..the LONG, LONG, LONG. & sadly the psuedopregnancy of MeiXiang at the NZ & then the wonderful news that ZA’s LunLun gave birth…..then the worrisome news that her cub experienced some problems & was in an incubator & being fed by the zoo staff…..once again the dedication of the panda keepers became apparent once the cub was returned to LunLun who immediately started her nusring duties again….Lun let her keepers remove her cub twice daily for a weight check and from what ZA now reports XiLan may be another terror like our TaiShan. The SDZ panda exhibit has been redone ….haha…seems like the SuLin has thoughts about redoing that……You raised enough $$ for a new bamboo cooler ….well done….a day without a panda update is something I can’t take……Let’s hope 2009 is a great year….some of our bloggers have mentioned their ill health…my best wishes for a happy & healthy 2009.

  43. Susan (UK) says:

    Thank you P Wong, I love your poem.

  44. Monika (in UK) says:

    Having been encouraged by the response I received from my previous email to Zoo Atlanta, I have emailed again – this is what I sent:

    Hi – I am so relieved to read that there may be hope yet to save the panda cam. It is so important to so many of us across the world. I have another idea – I am part of blog community on the San Diego Zoo panda blog. That group is huge and totally devoted to the welfare and preservation of pandas. The group just helped to raise enough money for a new bamboo cooler for the SDZ in warp speed time.

    Have you thought about approaching this group for donations and long-term support for the AZ pandacam?

    Although the blog is meant primarily to concern SDZ pandas, the webmaster/moderator allows us to blog about all the pandas and the welfare of Zoo Atlanta pandas is a constant topic on the blog. For me personally, LunLun is my all-time favourite panda. I know this group is desperate to help in any way possible and I know that donations would be pouring in to help save the Atlanta cam if you would only make it possible for us to do so.

    Please consider this and let us help.

    Monika (in the UK)

  45. Chari Mercier says:

    Happy New Year to the pandas!!! Just saw Miss ZZ on her tree branch mat on the cam this morning at around 11:30am EST my time! Great closeup shot from the Meerkats this morning! She looks so pretty! Hoping that everyone and the animals has a much better 2009! Enjoy!!

    Chari Mercier πŸ™‚

    St. Pete, FL

    PS: Just got on the AZ website panda page, and there is NO CAM on the page! I’m bummed because we all can’t see Xi Lan doing his thing! Hoping that AZ can get a new sponsor real soon.

  46. Margot says:

    Happy New Year to everyone at SDZ! Thank you for all the love and care you give to wonderful Bai, Gao, Su, and Zhen.

    The post about Su Lin’s antics is very entertaining. Ever since she started to explore on her own, she’s been a very determined and agile panda. I remember being awed (and a little frightened) by so many of her daring feats.

    Pamela G–hope you will enjoy a complete recovery in 2009. Your conversations, stories, and songs about the pandas are so creative, funny, and poignant–it’s such a pleasure to read and reread them.

  47. Melissa says:

    I love the sweet scrunchy faces that Mr. Gao makes when he is stripping the culm from the bamboo stalks. It is so adorable. If I were a girl panda, I think I would swoon at the sight. πŸ˜‰

  48. Pam T. says:

    Even through there’s no pandas on the AZ web page they still have daily updates about them this does help some.

    It looks like all the pandas are doing well today no hangovers ( lol ) from late night New Years eve partys. I hope all the panda fans are doing ok today starting a New Year.

  49. Joy :) says:

    Happy New Year to all the pandaFANatics out there!!!

    I pray that 2009 is full of health and happiness!

    I just had a little friend over and was showing her the various pandaCAMs and when I turned on SDZ, there was a pic of SuLin’s bamboo and pool, no panda. We laughed and made up a cute story about where the panda was. I thought I would share it because my little friend has a great imagination…

    SuLin the panda was sitting on the ground and resting in the shade of the trees. She could smell the aroma of panda biscuits that the people-mommies were baking in the oven. “Oh good,” she thought. “I am excited to have some treats. Maybe the people-mommies will put them in the big ball for me. I love to roll it around and am always surprised when a treat falls out. It’s like magic.”

    On the other side of the yard her Mom and Sister were playing “I’ve Got Your Nose” and SuLin could hear them giggling. She remembered playing the Nose Game with her Panda Mommy and she smiled. She sometimes missed playing with her Mommy, but she was proud that she was a “BIG Panda” now. And, as such, she had the whole yard to herself. She didn’t even have to share her Boo or the yummy biscuits the people-mommies gave her. It was ALL for her! She liked that thought.

    SuLin walked over to her pool. She took a nice long drink. She had this strange feeling that someone was watching her wherever she went. But whenever she looked around, there was no one there. She jumped to the side and rolled over twice. In all her moving, she never saw or smelled anyone. The feeling left and she was alone with her thoughts.

    She heard the people-mommies walking in their enclosure. She smelled the fresh biscuits and got very excited. SuLin ran to meet them and stretched up her neck to get a nice ear rub. “Oh, that feels so good,” she said, turning herself to get more of the people’s attention. Just like a cat, she kept turning her head and continued the tender tounching of the people-mommy.

    The people-mommy said, “Hi SuLin, you ‘very cute something’ you, how are you liking the new yard?”

    SuLin responded with a grateful bleat. It was a wonderful yard. Her people-mommies were the best!!! They really cared for her and made sure she had everything she could ever want. And right now that included freshly baked biscuits and a new toy.

    Then, the people-mommy tossed out a new ball filled to the very top with biscuits. “Here, SuLin, you have a NEW ball for a new year. I hope you enjoy it!”

    SuLin jumped this way and that. She batted the ball and it took off down the slope of the yard, biscuits were flying out all over the place. SuLin was in Panda Heaven. The pathway was lined with yummy, fresh biscuits and every step she took she munched on their bakery goodness. She grabbed the ball, hugged it and wrestled it to the ground in front of her. She rocked on it and shouting, “Yippee!” just like panda-mommy had told her cowboys do.

    Soon she grew tired. The ball was empty and she was full. She laid down in the middle of her bamboo bed and closed her eyes. Yes, this was going to be a Good New Year! After all, you know what they say, whatever you do on New Year’s Day is what you will be doing the whole rest of the year. That was a nice thought.

    SuLin was very content. She fell soundly asleep and had a fabulous dream of cold mountains bathed in sunshine and surrounded with bamboo forests. Her panda-mommy had called it her first home and someday, SuLin would go there. But, for now, she was one happy panda in the San Diego Zoo… The best place on earth for a “very cute” panda such as herself!


    Happy New Year to all the Pandas and all those who love them!

    Love, Joy πŸ™‚ and friend.

  50. Cheryl says:

    Happy New Year! Happy New Year to all!

    I wish everyone a wonderful 2009 and beyond — it’s been quite a year, lots of highs and some lows — but we have alot to be thankful for. Hugs and kisses to everyone!

  51. Linda A. says:

    Happy First Day of 2009 to all. Monika, #44, I emailed something similar to ZA webmaster. Monday is my birthday, and all I want is for the cam to be back up and running. Everytime I checked the cam today, my heart gave a little sad lurch. I’m going to check out the other news agency in Atlanta, see what I can do to bring our concern to them. It’s worth a try. I never heard back from AJC. I won’t give up yet. Last night on ESPN, they were hightlighting the Bowl Game in Atlanta. They were showing the city, and all the things to do there. They mentioned the Zoo and added info about the pandas (the only American born panda this year). That’s great —- if there was a sports fan who is also a panda fan (like me), they may visit the site and find out about the cam. The more info out there, the better. I firmly believe the majority of the people in the world don’t know what a precious treasure we have in our US pandas. That can do nothing but help educate the public about how endangered our pandas are.

    Got to see all the girls at SDZ in my limited time watching today. ZZ and Bai were adorable, and Sweet Su Lin is one gorgeous girl.

    Here’s to a better year for all. Good healthy (Pamela G especially), and to all. Thank you, again, to SDZ for letting us post here!

  52. Joan says:

    Monika #44

    Your e-mail to ZA has captured our thoughts and feelings completely! There are so many of us just itching to help! Let’s hope we will be allowed to donate if the sponsorship does not come through soon – I don’t want to even think about a long sabbatical from the ZA pandacam. I think I was in the ZA panda site about 50 times yesterday – hoping for a New Year’s Day surprise.

  53. Pam T says:

    Hi all there’s some great videos on youtube of the Little AJ taken 12/29 and 12/31. Check them out they are so cute, if you haven’t seen them already just type in Xi Lan panda and then by date.

    Also there is one dated 12/26 of ZZ some real close up pictures she is so adorable. It’s call Panda Bear poses for Camera.

  54. Pam T. says:


  55. Pam T. says:

    I don’t know what going on with the AZ camera but when I went back to it, it was gone again. So sorry I got your hopes up and mine to.

  56. May Ellen says:

    Thank you for reporting on the pandas including

    Su Lin! Just in the past 2 weeks (12/08), a wonderful video

    of Su Lun (2005) at an exam and outside with

    Bai Yun was deleted from the SDZ video archives. Would it be possible to bring

    back that wonderful video? – it was under “Animal Babies” on “page 12”

    It has an exam of Su Lin where she wiggles and turns summersaults

    and is given a ball to play with while she’s being examined – there is

    a second part of the video were she is outside with Bai Yun.

    It is from December 2005 (I think – or November 2005 – 12/28/05?). I’ve been watching it a lot recently (on SDZ video archives), and a few days ago tried to show it to a friend and discovered it had been deleted :<( It captures Su Lin’s spirit as a cub and has wonderful close ups of her that you don’t see on other posted videos –

    it’s unique! Please bring it back if possible. Also, thank you and all the staff for all your caring work for the animals, and your willingness to share with viewers

    around the world! HAPPY NEW YEAR to all!

    May Ellen

    Moderator’s note: These videos were in an outdated format and removed from the site. They will be brought back in time in a new format later this year.

  57. Kris says:

    Looks like Gao is back on exhibit. Hope he will be out there on the 15th for his birthday celebration and also on the panda cam. Hope to be able to see him enjoy his very 1st special cake! πŸ™‚

  58. Rose N. says:

    Happy New Year To Everyone!

    Yesterday was full of SUPRISES for me. We spent our New Year’s Day with our animal friends at the wonderful San Diego Zoo.

    Surprise #1 – We visited our ape friends at the Absolutely Apes exhibit where they were celebrating Janey’s 47th birthday! The exhibit was full of party favors; colorful shredded paper, small boxes, sheets of blue paper (used as chapeaus by the orangutans), and an array of treats strewn along the viewing window. I walked over to Janey, who was sitting close to the viewing window. We were face-to-face as I spoke to her and wished her a very happy birthday. The look on Janey’s face was priceless – what a sweetie. As you all know, Janey is a very talented painter and is known as β€œthe Artiste”. Check out the Ape Cam to find out all about this very intelligent orangutan.

    Surprise #2 – Instead of Su Lin, we found Gao Gao in the right hand exhibit! He was walking around the exhibit and soon approached the viewing area and started sniffing the air. As Gao Gao got closer, I softly said β€œHi Gao Gao, nice to see you again”. He was looking at us (at the time we were the only ones in his viewing area) so, of course, I want to believe he was looking at me. πŸ™‚ We then stopped by to say hello to Bai Yun and Zhen Zhen. Bai Yun was sound asleep on the cave and Zhen Zhen was asleep on her favorite tree limb. Maybe next time we’ll find them awake. The redesigned exhibits are very interesting with lots of shrubs, ground cover and the beautiful new cave.

    Surprise #3 – As we approached the spotted hyena’s exhibit I thought to myself β€œthey’re probably both

    asleep.” In the past, the two brothers were always in their back enclosure. This time we were happy to find both brothers awake. I immediately recognized Turbo because he has a large ear notch on the right side of his head. His brother Zephyr was nearby. Turbo was walking around sniffing the ground. Suddenly, he lowered his head and began making a deep, very loud growling sound – a sound that can be heard from quite a distance. His brother Zephyr immediately ran to his side. After about ten or more vocalizations, the brothers began to sniff around their exhibit. By coincidence, a tour bus stopped and introduced the hyenas to the visitors. The guide informed them β€œthe keepers scent mark the exhibit as a form of enrichment to keep the hyenas interested in their surroundings”. It works! The hyenas were very happy and quite active.

    We continued up Bear Canyon and encountered many of our animal friends along the way. At the top of the hill, we visited the Koala Exhibit.

    Surprise #4 – The koalas outside in the viewing area had many eucalyptus trees. One koala with her baby riding piggyback moved around the top of the tree. This was the cutest little family. One particular koala in its indoor enclosure was very busy. There were four trees in this enclosure. Each tree had a different type of eucalyptus leaf. Suddenly, the koala decided to check out the varied selections. He/she came down from the tree, walked around on the ground for a few minutes, and then climbed the second tree, sniffed the leaves, and then switched trees, apparently not happy with any of the leaves. Finally, instead of climbing back down, the koala jumped, – a distance of about 3-feet – back to the original tree and there he/she remained. I guess it needed the exercise. πŸ™‚

    We walked along Elephant Odyssey and visited the meerkats, giraffes, elephants and the two rhinoceros that were basking in the sun. The two rhino brothers were interacting and seemed very content. Next, we decided to take the Skyfari to the Polar Bear Plunge.

    Surprise #5 – At the Polar Bear Plunge, Chinook and Kalluk were both in the pool. Chinook was enjoying a carrot while floating in the pool. Kalluk was relaxing atop the underwater table. On the beach there was a large bone. Chinook decided to find something else to eat. She picked up the bone and brought it into the pool. She was having fun picking at the bone while holding it –otter style – on her chest. Kalluk noticed Chinook enjoying her snack and decided to join her. All the visitors knew that it was time to walk over to the underwater viewing area. Fortunately for us, we got there before the entire front row was filled. Chinook was swimming and playing with the bone, which had become her new toy. Kalluk β€œslowly” entered the viewing window. Kalluk’s massive size while approaching Chinook underwater was so overwhelming that everyone simultaneously uttered words of amazement. My goodness, Kalluk filled the viewing window! It looks like Kalluk is at least three times the size of Chinook. We know that Kalluk now weighs 1,000 lbs – God Bless. The two bears looked like two ballerinas swimming on a β€œstage”. It was amazing to watch these two beautiful bears dodging, floating and caressing each other, swimming to the surface and just as quickly sinking to the bottom of the pool. To me, it was a magical experience to watch these gorgeous bears having such a wonderful time.

    It was a fabulous day with many surprises and many exciting things too numerous to mention here.

    For me it was the best way to start off the New Year!

    I apologize for the length of this blog. I just could not restrain myself. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    Moderator’s note: Thank you for sharing your wonderful day with all of us, Rose!

  59. Gail says:

    Ellie, thank you for darling 12/29 tale of Su Lin, Decor Diva. I was surprised that on Jan 1st, she and Gao Gao switched places again. Was that move for her safety – perhaps until tree and plant trimming takes place?

  60. P Wong says:

    Tuan Tuan Yuan Yuan video clips (When you get to the webpage, click on the image that says “.wmv”. Media files are big, so you’d need high speed broadband):


  61. Pam T. says:

    #58 Rose

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful day at the SDZ makes us all wish we were able to get there. But your little tour was the next best thing.

    Thanks again

  62. Chari Mercier says:

    Hi! Hope everybody is having a very nice first weekend of the new year! Didn’t see too much on the pandacams today when I was able to get on them. I did get on the Memphis Zoo panda page yesterday and today, and their cam is back online after maintenance work. Saw Ya Ya eating her boo. She’s the panda that likes to stay indoors alot! Le Le loves to be outside alot! The MZ pandacam is on 24/7 everyday, and the people operating the cam are on staff from 9am-5pm EDT everyday. So, make sure you get on the MZ panda page and check out Ya Ya and Le Le on their pandacam! Still hoping that the AZ pandacam will get back online ASAP!

    Well, not much else going on here. Will check back in later on.

    Chari Mercier πŸ™‚

    St. Pete, FL

  63. Margaret says:

    Thanks for updating the nighttime camera so that you can see the panda tree in color. It is much easier to see the yard tonight than usual and I can make out the green bamboo and grass from the gray hollow tree stump and the brown ground. Unfortunately Gao Gao was not in the view when I checked, but I am sure she will be back soon.

    Gail #59, Su Lin has been on exhibit since Dec 20, so it was time for the “switch” to be done again for equal time shared with Papa Gao.

  64. Marilyn says:

    I really must visit SDZ when it is raining — that seems to be the *best* time for panda viewing (especially Su Lin)!

  65. Melissa says:

    #54 & 55 Pam T … Hopefully what you were seeing on the ZA panda cam page is a test being done by the zoo and its new streaming video provider. That’s the way I’m looking at it with fingers crossed!

    #60 P Wong … Yuan Yuan has such a striking face. Another panda beauty! Tuan Tuan looks a lot like his wonderful panda grandma, Bai. It is so neat to see the descendents of the US pandas.

    I’m so excited about Gao’s celebration coming up on January 15. He’s such a sweetheart and will feel extra special to be the only US panda to enjoy festivities in his honor in a non-summer month. I like to think of Gao as the Indiana Jones, James Bond and Superman of the panda world, all rolled into one cute, lovable bear.

    I haven’t seen any recent posts on the elephant blog, so I want to take the opportunity to offer big congratulations to the SDZ elephant keepers. I saw a story on the news this morning that outlined the diet that the keepers designed for the elephants, resulting in a weight loss total of 11,000 pounds. Way to go! That is awesome. Now, will there be an elephant diet that we humans can follow for the new year? πŸ™‚

  66. Ellie says:

    To Gail, # 59 – The trimming was completed before Christmas – perhaps the keepers felt that it was appropriaqte for Gao to come out and share part of the holiday seasom with his friends, too.

  67. Susan (UK) says:

    Joy#49, I have really enjoyed reading your little friend’s story. Magical.

    Rose N#58, thanks for the memories.

    Happy New Year to ALL.

  68. Pam T. says:

    # 49 Joy thanks for the cute story

  69. nancy from michigan says:

    happy new year everyone out there in panda land! hopefully we will have alot more magically fun moments in 2009!! zz is growing so fast and az zoo baby is also growing by leaps and bounds. I have a good feeling that AZ will find a sponsor for their panda zoo cam. we all like to check out all our wonderful pandas in the US zoos that are here on loan from china. we can’t get enough of these delightful black and white balls of fur!!! we all have our fingers crossed ( toes too! ) that a sponsor comes through. how much money does it take to run a panda cam all year? maybe we can all donate enough to run it a year at a time? I know these are hard times ec onomically for everyone! when there is a great need for something, animal or human, somehow, someway, people just respond! people are caring and loving generally speaking. GOOD NEWS WILL BE COMING I’M SURE!!!!!!

  70. Pam T. says:

    I was on youtube this morning and found a couple short clips of Xi on it. Just type in his name and then go by the date he’s so cute. I hope more people who visit the zoo got some cute videos of little AJ and put them on youtube till we get the webcam back.

    But we always have the beautiful bears from all the other zoos to help us through our day.

  71. Michelle says:

    Nancy #69 I believe they said about $60,000/year to run the cam

  72. nancy from michigan says:

    if you type in you tube/xi Lan baby panda, you will get 4-5 darling video clips. the date is dec.17th

    they are done well with really nice background music . bette midler music is on one of them! you will really enjoy them. other panda clips are also on there of our other darlings, inccluding zz!

  73. Kris says:

    Michelle (#71) Are you sure on the amount for the cam? For some reason, I was under the impression that it was in the six figure range. $60K doesn’t seem like much over a years time if we can pull together $112K for a new boo cooler in a matter of weeks. If that is all it costs, I am definitely up for supporting it!

  74. Chari Mercier says:

    Hi, you all! Got on the SDZ cam today, it was on C27, I checked the cam list, and I saw Su Lin! Looks like Gao and Su did another switch of the yards again. Su was busy sniffing and walking around her yard. Read the AZ update today, and little Xi Lan is walking pretty good now. There’s a cute pic of Xi on the hammock sound asleep! The AZ video page has some cute vids of Xi Lan as well, and that is starting to grow with more vids. Wish we could actually watch him live on the cam, tho. I like the idea of some of us that can do it send in donations to AZ specifically for the pandacam to help them get it back up and running again. I do hope that AZ will let that happen! If we all can raise over $112,000 for a boo cooler, then we can surely raise about $60,000 or so for the pandacam at Atlanta Zoo for one year!

    Congrats to all of the San Diego Charger fans on your team winning their wild card playoff game! Good luck in the divisional round!

    Well, gonna go and check the pandacams again. Better do it now before my son gets on this computer!

    Will check in later!

    Chari Mercier πŸ™‚

    St. Pete, FL

  75. Margaret says:

    Wow! What a big crowd of fans are visiting Bai and ZZ this afternoon. Looks like it was a popular day to visit SDZ. People have jackets on so it must be more like panda weather.

    If I understand the new SDZ-Chian agreement correctly, Bai and Gao will be staying for 5 more years, and hopefully producing more stellar cubs like Mei Sheng, Su Lin, and Zhen Zhen. But, since Su Lin will be 4 years old in August, and the agreement says that cubs born in US will go to China when 4 years old, she will be leaving some time after her 4th birthday. Hopefully there will be another new cub by then to take away some of the pain and sadness from her leaving.

    The 2007 agreement NZP made with China extended Tai Shan’s stay in the US until he is 4, which is in July, 2009.

    It seems that 2009 means a lot of momentous things will be going on in US panda world. Xi Lan will make his outdoor debut, Zhen Zhen will be weaned and become an independent girl like her big sister, and Tai Shan and Su Lin will head to Bifengxia or the new Wolong if it is ready for them.

    I would not be surprised to hear that Mei Lan will be heading to Chengdu this year too. She will be three years old in September, and I think ZA’s contract calls for her to go to China after she turns three. Since ZA is having financial difficulties in many ways, not just panda cam, they may not be able to afford to keep her here another year.

    So, enjoy all the cams, photos, and videos on all US zoo websites and you(dot)tube while you can. Panda cubs seem to grow up overnight from a stick of butter to a fully adolescent cub capable of living on its own.

  76. Linda A. says:

    Hi everyone…………….well, doesn’t look like I’m going to get my birthday wish today!!!!! No panda cam at ZA. But Associated Press picked up a story, as I’m sure many of you may have seen, stating that ZA will know within two weeks if they have a sponsor. I read that last week on an Atlanta chatroom website. And according to the chatroom, it’s Earthlink again. The AP story didn’t mention who it is. If it costs $60,000 for a year, I think we could do it. I think we’ve all suggested that to ZA. I don’t get it.

    Thank goodness for the cuteness in San Diego!!!!! And we have LOTS of it there.

  77. Violasmom says:

    I was at ZA on Sunday. Xi Lan was asleep back in the den, but Yang Yang, Mei Lan, and Lun Lun were all out and about. It was drizzly and wet, so it was great animal viewing weather. I talked with one of the Volunteers and she said that they will begin renegotiating the Panda contract this spring, but Mei Lan will probably go back to Chengdu in the late fall/early winter. Like all the others, I hope the cam is back up soon. I hope to be able to bring my daughter to San Diego sometime in the next few years as I still fondly remember my one and only trip to SDZ and WAP in 1987 (no Pandas that trip).

    Happy New Year to everyone!

  78. Maureen in Michigan says:

    #49 Joy – loved your friend’s story.

    I feel that ZA will find a sponsor for their panda cam. But let’s remember how upset we all were when we found the SDZ cam had an ad from the hit movie “Kung Fu Panda”. If they find a sponsor odds are there will be an ad….we must smile & be thankful the panda cam is back. Keep checking ZA for good news…. their updates are fun to read.

    My comments on the new panda loan agreements…I feel that because of the earthquake damage to both Woloong & the wild panda habitat China is hard pressed to have their “Pandas on loan” returned to them in the next couple of years. All our older panda cubs (Tai, SuLin, Mei Lan) are still too young to breed….so let’s hope for our cubs to remain & the panda cams to return.

  79. Cheryl says:

    Ahhh… sweet shots this morning of Zhen and Bai sitting across from each other sharing their breakfast. Zhen is so big now — just an adorable semi-mini version of Bai. It was very sweet seeing them together like that — just a couple of gals having a morning chat over breakfast. I know it won’t be long until they are separated — so it was a nice scene to start my day. Bummer – off to work now…

  80. Cheryl says:

    OK – I couldn’t resist another peek. Bai decided she didn’t want to share “her” bamboo anymore — so she did her famous “talk to the paw” move — so Zhen decided to go to her room and pout. Beautiful close-up shots of Zhen’s adorable face. Ok — now I’m reading logging off — really…

  81. Margaret says:

    Thanks #76 Linda A for the update on ZA webcam, and #77 Violasmom for the update on Mei Lan and her possible trip to Chengdu.

    As we anthropomorphize our love and respect for the pandas, we make things harder for ourselves than it is for the pandas. It is all part of their life to be born, develop quickly, become independent and move on. It is mostly a human thing that offspring and their offspring interact for generations. Elephants are also social animals like humans and they interact with multiple generations. They grieve like humans do when one of their herd is lost. Not so with solitary animals like pandas. They enjoy their individual freedom and the new adventures that await them each day as they seek out their own life. It is hard for me to fathom only wanting to be near another adult panda 2 or 3 days a year for mating and then off to the solitary life again. But, that is the way it is in a panda’s world! Maybe we can learn some lessons from them in how to teach our children to be more independent and self-sufficient?? Bai Yun is an excellent teacher and has done a great job preparing her cubs for their independent life. As we watch Bai and ZZ calmly sitting and having a boo feast, it brings back memories of two years ago when the same timeless lessons went on with Su Lin, and I am sure with Mei Sheng and Hua Mei before that (although I didn’t see them on panda cam). When one watches as closely as the keepers do, one can see subtle signs that Bai is giving that the separation and independence are starting. The note that ZZ now knows how to peel down to the culm quickly and effectively is one of those clues. Bai is subtilly teaching ZZ everything she needs to know to exist without her mother. Even their play sessions get rougher as Bai teaches her cubs how to defend themselves from aggression of other animals, including pandas. Nature is a marvelous thing, and the minutest detail is amazing if we look closely so we don’t miss it.

  82. Linda A. says:

    Margaret #81, well said. Our panda moms have done such a great job in preparing their off spring to be healthy, independent pandas.

    While having any of our pandas return to China would be devasting to us, this too is an important step. We are so fortunate that our 4 zoos have gone to extraordinary ends to have the pandas on LOAN, and China was gracious enough to LOAN them to us. (I’ll leave ALL the politics out of it.) Education of their possible extinction is so important Every effort must be made for the preservation of our beloved pandas. I, personally, can’t think of anything better than seeing a giant panda in the wild – healthy and happy with a cub. The earthquake was horrible in so many ways. But that’s part of nature too. The pandas are loosing their natural habitat; and not from the earthquake. All this is a lot of not very well said stuff, I realize that. But ZZ’s weaning is important. It’s the next natural step. And if Tai, Su Lin and Mei Lan “move” to China, we’ll be broken hearted, but hopefully, when they are old enough to mate, they will be productive in China. I, personally, was totally touched by the dedication of the staff/keepers to the pandas during/after the earthquake. Made me feel better about our kids going home.

    Perhaps I’m just trying to make myself feel better about ZZ and the possible return of any of our kids to China!!

  83. Pam T. says:

    I was just on the AZ web page they are making some changes Mon., Wed. and Fri they will have updates and on Tue. and Thru. they will have a little video on Lun and Xi. There is one on the site today of moma and baby in the hammock so cute.

  84. Kris says:

    Chari (#34) – There is a posting on a website dated 12/16/08 stating that Ya Ya (Memphis) DID go into estrus! Finally!! The posting states that the zoo was planning to have Ya Ya and Le Le spend time together in hopes that they would mate naturally. If not, they plan to try AI on her on Christmas Day. Oddly, I can’t find any mention of anything on the Memphis website but I have my fingers crossed that this will be Ya Ya’s time to present the world with a cub. The website is www(dot)pandasliveon(dot)com and it is on page 2.

  85. Melissa says:

    Ya Ya does go into estrus at strange times. The last I know of was in January 2007 when she went through AI and a pregnancy (not a pseudopregnancy) was confirmed. She did not give birth to a live cub. It has been a long wait for MZ’s panda keepers and veterinary staff while they monitor Ya Ya for signs. She would have an unusually long estrus if it lasted from 12/16 to 12/25. Two to three days is usually the normal window of fertility for giant pandas, but as they say, Ya Ya likes to do things her own way. She is such a cutie.

    MZ’s website and panda blog have been in disarray for several months. The last blog entry was in mid-September when they congratulated ZA on Xi’s birth, but for some reason all of their recent blog posts reset to October 16 when their website got a makeover. Hopefully their webmaster will get the site straightened out soon.

    I loved seeing Gao eating his bamboo this afternoon. I hope I get to see him in person someday.

  86. Chari Mercier says:

    Hi! Kris (#84), I got on the website that you mentioned to read about Ya Ya, and I couldn’t find the article that you were referring to. I’m glad that you found out about Ya Ya going into estrus, tho! I was very worried about her thru the whole year of 2008 just wondering why she didn’t go into estrus at all and whether she would do it at all this year. I also checked the Memphis Zoo panda blogs to see if they had anything on there yet, and they don’t. They’re usually pretty good about letting people know what’s up with the pandas there. What I’ll do is write them an email about Ya Ya and what’s been going on with her lately. Thanks for giving me a heads up on this one! I would love to see Ya Ya have a baby panda this year! Back in 2007, Ya Ya was pregnant but lost her baby panda just days before giving birth. That was a huge blow to everybody at MZ and for all of us pandafans that year. Hoping for a better 2009 for Ya Ya!!

    Haven’t had much of a chance to get on any pandacams the last couple of days. I’ve had a couple of appointments to take care, and my son went back to school after a long 2 week break. Gonna get back on the cams later on today to check on my favorite pandas–all of them! Will check back later!

    Chari Mercier πŸ™‚

    St. Pete, FL

  87. Frances in NYC says:

    Cheryl #79 and 80 describes the scene perfectly as Miss Zhen Zhen flounces off to her frilly pink bedroom to pout about how unfair everything is and growing up is hard and Mommy doesn’t understand me sometimes and I will be a movie star someday!

    Meanwhile, I’m working in Boston for a few more days, where it is definitely panda weather–wish I could send them a big container of snow, sleet, and slush to play in. Any word on when the new cooler will be up and running?

    Moderator’s note: We are hoping it will be all settled into its new home in four to six weeks.

  88. Kris says:

    Hi Chari (#86) – the “Pandas live on” website is kind of like an on-going blog about pandas from all over. The entries are dated and the most recent one is the 1st one listed. So you either have to scroll down to the bottom of the page and hit “next” or down on the left hand side of the page is a list of archives. You want December. The entry is dated 12/16/08 and is titled “Tis the Season”. It is right under an entry about Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan going to Taiwan. Hope you can find it. There are also pictures of Ya Ya and Le Le. It is a good website for info and they have great pictures and sometimes videos. Even Xi Lan’s infamous “My Twip to Hell and Back” is on there. Good luck and thanks for the update on the cooler, moderator! Any word yet on Gao’s birthday celebration..?

    Moderator’s note: The birthday cake has been ordered!

  89. Rose N. says:

    This morning around 9:10 AM, it was fun watching Bai and Zhen playing poolside for about ten minutes. Bai did not go in the pool. Zhen walked in and started chasing after two rubber balls that were floating in the water. Zhen, using her nose, maneuvered the larger ball until she was able to pick it up with her mouth and carry it out of the pool. After her romp in the pool, Zhen climbed up to the hammock for a well-deserved nap.

    The pandas always start off my day with a smile. πŸ™‚

  90. P Wong says:

    Conversation with Mei Sheng #27

    Tourist: Hello, Mei Sheng.

    Mei Sheng: Hello, Mr. Tourist.

    T: I see you’re busy in your kitchen again.

    M: Cake design time!

    T: You mean for Gao Gao’s 1/15/2009 celebration?

    M: Yup. And Lunar New Year, too.

    T: So much food.

    M: They’ll be plenty of guests and dignitaries.

    T: Now what have we here? Travel photos?

    M: We’ll make a cake shaped like stacked skyscrapers.

    T: And what’s this?

    M: There’ll be fountain sprays of bamboo juice.

    T: So elaborate!

    M: Just like the exquisite stepped waterfalls of Zhiuzhaigou.

    T: And this, too?

    M: Not to mention Niagara and Horshoe Falls.

    T: Now this desert scene.

    M: There’ll be lots of brown suger dunes and glazed lotus seed.

    T: And the Alps?

    M: There’ll be mounds of candied wintermelon.

    T: And how will you get all this to San Diego?

    M: We redecorated the sleigh.

    T: Now don’t tell me Santa’s reindeer will Cha Cha Cha again?

    M: No, we’ll have golden Lunar New Year dragons.

    T: WHAT?

    M: They’re practicing as we speak.

  91. Kris says:

    Oh wow, P Wong! (#90) I love the conversation with Mei Sheng planning Daddy Gao Gao’s elaborate, 1st ever birthday celebration! All the wonderful treats and the golden Lunar New Year dragons! You have outdone yourself this time! πŸ™‚

  92. Lee in Vancouver says:

    P Wong (90) Can hardly wait until Lunar New Year.

    Thank you for the cooler update. Is the old one still hanging in?

    Moderator’s note: We had two coolers; one can no longer be used, so keepers are cramming the bamboo into the other one, which is on its last legs. We are hoping it holds out until the new one arrives and can be installed.

  93. Chari Mercier says:

    Hi! Kris (#88), thanks for giving me the layout of the Pandas Live On website. Now I know how to navigate it! Had to go thru Google to get the website up. This site is chock full of panda news that it will take me a whole day to go thru it. I did find the article about Ya Ya’s miracle estrus cycle! YEA for Ya Ya! She finally kicked in after almost a year of nothing! Now, we’ll just hope and pray that the AI procedure that was done on Ya will be successful, and that she will be a momma by this summer! Time to count the days after AI again!! Will check with Memphis Zoo to find out the exact date of the AI procedure, then I’ll start keeping track from there. I also noticed an article about the bamboo cooler fundraising. I put in a comment to let everyone know about the successful raising of the money needed for the boo cooler and when it will be installed. That website is now another one of my favs about pandas!

    P Wong, your conversation between tourist and Mei Sheng is a good one–and funny! Love these writings from you because they lighten up everybody’s day! Keep them coming, and please consider putting a book together of your famous conversations! They will sell real well at the SDZ shop!!

    Got on the SDZ pandacam, and watched Su Lin eating a large stalk of boo which she expertly stripped apart!

    Well, gonna go. Have to go and do some things, but will be back!

    Chari Mercier πŸ™‚

    St. Pete, FL

  94. Hazel says:

    On January 15th Gao Gao celebrates his 6th ‘birthday’ at SDZ – I recall his arrival in a ‘panda crate’ on a forklift truck – happily munching his beloved boo.

    It was love at first sight when he met up with Bai Yun, mated and produced her only son our wonderul Mei Sheng on 08/19/03 – Little/Big man was a fast mover!

    I am certain he will enjoy his amazing ‘Panda Party’ – as described by P.Wong (#90)

    Happy New Year – 2009 to all Pandaholics and the staff who care for our beloved pandas.

  95. Widget says:

    Just happened to see Bai Yun lounging on top of the enclosure. She is laying in a rather funny position. Her rather large rear area looks like one of the boulder’s and it’s hard to tell she is even on top. Very funny picture Bai. Thanks for making my day!

  96. Lee in Vancouver says:

    Dear moderator, thank you for the info on the coolers. The new one will be delivered and installed before the second one stops working. I have a strong feeling about this and, like most women, I am seldom wrong!

  97. Frances in NYC says:

    Very good, P Wong–can’t wait for the celebration!

    It was fun to see Miss ZZ playing in the pool this morning–she had been closed up in her bedroom and was trying to figure out how to climb out of the little openings in the mesh window to get outside.

    Yes, Widget #95–today’s award for Pandas in Funny Positions goes to Bai Yun.

  98. Linda A. says:

    Mei Sheng, I so enjoying your talking with Mr. Tourists. I would love it if you could chat more often. And I’m very much looking forward to seeing the cake for your Daddy.

  99. Margaret says:

    #90 P. Wong – you’ve done it again. Maybe Gao’s recent exuberance was because he was excited about having his very own birthday celebration. He has presented three offspring for theirs, and now it is time for him to enjoy his own. Besides, he soon will have romance in the air and get to see his favorite female panda diva, Bai Yun. He patiently munches on his bamboo for two years for his few minutes of glory. If he is as busy this year as he was in 2007, he will have one “hot” day to remember for the next two years.

  100. Margaret says:

    For those of you who want an update on the elephant calves, please check out the latest elephant blog. It is very informative!

  101. Carol in Kansas says:

    Just got a reply to my e-mail to Memphis Zoo. They will have a new panda blog posted Thursday.

  102. Suzanne (the other one) says:

    Here’s hoping the old boo cooler holds up til the new one is ready. If not. Gao Gao will have a huge feast, all at once, and then not be so happy! Thank goodness we can watch our lovely, albeit just a tiny bit spoiled pandas! And, thank goodness all the blogging panda fans don’t have access to behind the scenes at SDZ… the pandas would be even MORE spoiled (at least by me!).

    Do we have a date for boo cooler arrival? And, how long is estimated for construction/installation?


    Moderator’s note: We are planning to have the bamboo cooler construction completed, installed, and packed with our pandas’ favorite species of bamboo between mid- to late-February. We are hoping to receive pictures of the bamboo cooler installation over the next month and will be sure to share them in this blog section.

  103. Margaret says:

    What happened to the new grass in the front exhibits? I thought I saw it them last week, and also in the back area where Su Lin is now, but after the recent heavy rain, and possibly panda traffic, it looks like the brown soil is back. It appeared to hold up really well and the pandas seemed to enjoy it, so I am surprised that it seems to have vanished fairly quickly. Did the redecorating diva pandas pull it up with the bushes they were mauling?

    Moderator’s note: Well, we never expected the grass to last forever–bears are pretty hard on the turf! But there are still patches of grass here and there (so far!).

  104. barbara says:

    If you all would like to se a beautiful picture, look at Za cub update page. It has a picture of Yang Yang as a infant with his mother YA Ya what a beautiful baby and now he makes beautiful babies.

  105. barbara says:

    My friend just called and told me about a article on MSNBC about GU Gu the panda in Beijing. It seem like this is the 3rd time some moron climbed into his enclosure and he attacked them, they had to get tools to pry his mouth open to get the guy’s leg out. He had gone into the enclosure to get a toy his son had dropped. What is wrong with people, now this guy has major damage to muscles and nerves and tendons. That is why we are always reminded ,no matter how cute and funny pandas are they are still wild animals.

  106. Susan (UK) says:

    Gao Gao is one lucky panda – looks like he’s going to be outnumbered by cakes!! I’m looking forward to his ‘first’ birthday party. That was a great story, P Wong.

  107. Kris says:

    Chari!!! You are famous now! The “Pandas Live On” website posted your comment regarding the SDZ boo cooler on their main page!! πŸ™‚

  108. Kris says:

    Yay!! The Memphis Zoo website posted a blog about Ya Ya’s estrus and AI! Everyone cross their pseudo thumbs and hope that this is her year! Might be Bai’s year too, as well as Mei Xiang!! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have 3 US born pandas cubs in 2009?? We’ll even let Lun take a year off since she kindly presented us with the adorable Xi Lan in 2008. Oh, spring is just around the corner. Can’t wait to see Gao do his “pacing” routine as he gears up to find the girl bear (Bai). Hope he enjoys his birthday celebration next week. You can bet I will be watching! πŸ˜‰

  109. Chari Mercier says:

    Hi, pandafans! Are you all ready for another emotional counting of the days again? I am!! πŸ˜€ Just got on the MZ website’s panda page and read their newest update dated today, 1/8/2009. They have confirmed definitely that Ya Ya went into estrus sometime during the first couple of weeks of December, 2008, and they started 24/7 watches on 12/20 to see when she would be ready to mate with Le Le. They put Ya and Le together on 12/24 to see if they would do it naturally, but nothing doing there. So, the vets and keepers did two artificial insemination (AI) procedures on Ya on 12/25 and 12/26, 2008. What a Christmas present for the MZ panda keepers!! After waiting her out for a year and a half, Ya Ya finally kicked it in on her estrus! She has been known to be the very unpredictable female panda when it comes to going into estrus at any time of the year, even almost skipping an entire year, but now we will be watching, waiting, hoping, praying, and keeping our fingers (and pseudothumbs) crossed that the AIs will take hold, be successful, and hopefully Memphis Zoo Panda House will have their first baby panda cub by this spring or summer. They will keep us updated as much as possible on Ya’s progress on her hormone levels–estrogens and progestins. I will definitely be keeping track of Ya myself! I guess you might say that Ya got the jump on the other female pandas here in the US–Bai Yun and Mei Xiang! Lun Lun still has little Xi Lan to raise for another year and a half yet. Hoping to get Chinese lucky and have Mei Xiang and Bai get pregnant this year, too!

    Well, gonna go for now! Just want to get this news update to you all. Will check back in later; got clothes to get into the dryer!


    Chari Mercier πŸ™‚

    St. Pete, FL

  110. Linda A. says:

    ZZ was playing in the pool. What a doll!!!!

    Zoo Atlanta has a myspace page. Haven’t had time to check it out yet, but that’s interesting. Seems like they are going to a lot work in getting info out on Xi. But I keep seeing the same story running (in different newspapers) about how they expect people to actually COME SEE Xi now that the web cam is off. Interesting. I live in Northern California — haven’t even driven to San Diego yet. SDZ would be my first trip.

  111. Margaret says:

    ZA finally mentioned their MySpace page which has special panda family album including Yang Yang and Lun Lun cub photos. Now we can keep track of all our US pandas and talk about them each in their own appropriate venue. Thank you SDZ for your patience and kindness in providing us a place to talk about ALL the US pandas, not just Gao, Bai, Su, and ZZ. They are all important, each in their own special way.

    It reminded me of the SDZ MySpace page for Janie the artistic Orangutan. She is very special too and has her own page to show off her artistic talents.

    Moderator’s note: Here’s a link to Janey’s MySpace page:

  112. Chari Mercier says:

    Hi, again! Atlanta Zoo’s new panda update today gives us a new way to watch pandas! Did you all know that AZ has their own My Space page?? Just found that out today! So, when you all want to see more panda fun and antics, get on the My Space website and hit the Atlanta Zoo link. There are photo galleries of Lun and Yang as cubs and growing up, Mei Lan’s 2 years of photos and vids, and Xi Lan has his own special page set up with photos and vids. At least we will be enjoying this for awhile until AZ can get their pandacam back up again soon. Just thought I would write in and let you know about this! Have fun!!

    Love to pandas,

    Chari Mercier πŸ™‚

    St. Pete, FL

  113. Fonsia says:

    Wow, I saw a fantastic excursion by ZZ this morning (many thanks to the Pandacam operator who followed all of that). Normally, when Bai Yun takes her morning romps, ZZ follows right along at her heels. Not today. She was playing with a blue box, playing in the pool, playing with sticks, climbing on things and completely ignoring Mom, who passed by many times. ZZ ignored Bai for an hour or more, except for a few brief periods when they tussled a bit.

    I wonder if this was evidence of some separation behavior going on? (Also, does the Zoo wash the Pandas when they get dirty? I’ve often wondered.)

    Moderator’s note: We do not wash our pandas. For info on how pandas get clean, see the blog, Of Pandas and Water

  114. Margaret says:

    Memphis Zoo posted an announcement that they did AI on Ya Ya on Dec 25 and 26 and have their pseudo-thumbs crossed for cub(s) in 2009.

  115. Michelle says:

    Posted today on Memphis, they done the AI procedure on Ya Ya on Dec. 25th and 26th!! Cross your fingers!!! We definately need a baby since we may be losing 3 of ours back to China. Mei Lan was my first love and its heartbreaking thinking she may be gone in a few months. But hopefully they will all go back and have lots of babies of their own we can read about.

  116. Bobbie Wood says:

    To Joy # ?: I loved the beautiful imagination of your yourng visitor! There is nothing like being able to listen to a child use the gift of creating! Thank you so much for sharing!

    To PWong: Your imagination is Grand as well! πŸ™‚

    To All: My friend and I went to the SDZ this morning and the day was as much fun as ever! The momma Koala and her ‘joey’ were together on a branch AWAKE!!! I had a fine time filming them πŸ™‚ The little Grizzlie brothers were busy playing/eating huge joint bones. They are now, according to a docent on a passing guide bus, three years old. They’ve grown, but really still look like they have baby fuzzy fur πŸ™‚ The baby tigers were all snuggled in a lump sound asleep but we could see that they have grown as well πŸ™‚ The Flamingos were a much more vibrant color this visit….almost a pinikish-red-orange. They must have had a lot of shrimp over the holiday season. And my goodness, always a new creature…each visit. This time we saw a pheasant that is either in or on the way to Tiger river/Ituri Forest. This pheasant looked as if it had an armor tail and it’s body feathers looked like armour also! Amazing Bird!!!It’s called a Malay Great Argus Pheasant! A must see! Then…ahhh our favorite Stars! At 9:20, Gao Gao was sacked out on the ground sound asleep on his side. Bai was sound asleep on her hut with her face facing the camera…smile on her face. Zhen was up in her tree! She actually woke up, moved, and scratched her head. I was estatic πŸ™‚ Naturally we made a second visit about 11:45 and boy did we get lucky! Gao was pacing! Bai was pacing!

    Zhen showed off by climbing over the low logs, into the pool! She also played with the little bush in front of the hut, ate bamboo left over from breakfast, and went right down to the foreground of the exhibit to the joy of all the fans πŸ™‚ What a ZOO! A perfect Day!!!!

    Moderator’s note: Bobbie, be sure to return this weekend for Koalapalooza, featuring fun activities and animals from Australia. More info at

  117. Melissa says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how Bai is a great panda mom. Since her 2003 estrus, she has been either expecting or rearing a cub almost nonstop for nearly 6 years (3 cubs, 18 months of rearing per cub before weaning, plus 3 pregnancies at approximately 4 months each). Wow! And she still looks fabulous! What an inspiration!

    As poor Gu Gu reminds us, giant pandas are wild despite their overall tendency to be quiet, gentle creatures. I, too, was pretty angry when I read that he’d been put in the situation of having to deal with an unwanted and unexpected “visitor” in his enclosure. I hope the Chinese zoo where Gu Gu resides will find a way to remedy this situation. All of this makes me wonder whether giant pandas ever suffer from something akin to post traumatic stress. It’s clear that dogs and cats who are mistreated and/or put in tough situations may have behavioral issues as a result and I wonder what effect these human intrusions might have on Gu Gu now that there have been three.

    That being said, it is only for my silly human amusement that I wish someone could give supermom Bai a foot rub to pamper her perfectly adorable panda feet. It is a testament to the differences in the animal kingdom and humans that most of us humans would be pretty frazzled by what Bai has accomplished in the past six years. She just takes it all in stride. Three cheers for the wonderful Bai Yun! And what a lucky panda gal to be adored by Mr. Gao. πŸ™‚

  118. Rose N. says:

    Early this morning around 6:30 AM PT, I watched Gao Gao pacing in his enclosure. I’m guessing he was awaiting a fresh batch of bamboo! When I checked back later, around 7 AM, I saw two panda keepers, very busy, raking and cleaning his exhibit. They bagged the uneaten bamboo, washed out the pool and then refilled it. One keeper cleaned the inside of the hollowed-out tree. They placed a huge batch of fresh bamboo and also added some special treats around the exhibit. As soon as Gao Gao returned, he headed directly to the treats – Oh! What a surprise. πŸ™‚ The keepers worked diligently and did an awesome job preparing the exhibit for Gao Gao’s return. The enclosure looked nice and clean when the keeper’s finished the job.

    By the way, moderator, if they need any help cleaning up after Zhen Zhen, just let me know. πŸ™‚

  119. Lee in Vancouver says:

    Good morning. Could you tell us what is in Gao Gao’s sack?

    Keepers respond: The sack was filled with Bermuda hay.

  120. Frances in NYC says:

    After Melissa #117’s suggestion of a foot massage for Bai Yun, I have wonderful, if anthropomorphic, images of a spa for panda moms–rows of panda moms in mud baths, on massage tables, under hair dryers, being tended to by mani/pedi/pawi-curists, yoga classes, etc. etc. Ahhh–well deserved relaxation!

    Moderator’s note: That sounds wonderful. How about one for blog moderators, too?

  121. Suzanne (the other one) says:

    Francis #120 and moderator – heavenly! And, of course blog moderators too! Sounds like this could be another conversation with Bai and Mr. Tourist?

  122. Melissa says:

    #120 Frances … My mind also went to the same place as yours (panda spas!) when I was thinking of Bai being treated to a foot rub and how deserving giant panda mothers are of being pampered for all their hard work. I have to confess that I often wonder how pandas keep their claws in such good shape. Cats like to scratch on things to keep their claws in peak form but what about pandas? Do their nails shed the way a cat’s would? How do they stay sharpened? And of course I also wonder if panda paws are remotely ticklish. (Isn’t that silly of me?!)

    Moderator: By all means, you are well deserving of a spa day, too!

  123. Frances in NYC says:

    Spa days for pandas, moderators and bloggers all!

    And Melissa #122, I’m sure pandas must be ticklish, but I’ll bet you have to know one awfully well before you get to know where. Surely there will be a chapter in Gao Gao’s inspirational manual of advice to young male pandas about mating and romance and keeping the excitement alive during those long gaps between dates?