Bai Yun through the Years

Posted at 9:56 am September 7, 2010 by Kathy Hawk

Happy 19th birthday, Bai Yun!

I remember that special day in the fall of 1996: the dream had finally happened, the San Diego Zoo had giant pandas! I had little sleep the night before our black-and-white celebrities arrived. I stayed late at the Zoo’s Giant Panda Research Station, disinfecting bedrooms and getting things ready for our new kids. Bai was the first panda I saw in the shipping crate when she and Shi Shi arrived. As the back door of the delivery truck opened, there she was, looking curiously at me. I was in awe!

Bai checks out her new home at the San Diego Zoo, October 11, 1996.

As the days rolled into months, Bai and I became fast friends. I would spend my lunch breaks with her:she would be in the off-exhibit backyards, and I would be on the outside of the separation fence. Bai was five years old at the time and very much the comical youngster. We would interact through the fence line, and it was funny, as it seemed she would imitate everything I did! If I ran along the fence line, she would run; if I did a somersault, or bounce on all fours, Bai was with me every step of the way. Thank goodness we were behind the scenes, as someone might think the keeper has lost her mind!

Bai knows how to play! April 1997.

Bai and I have shared many events together. I remember during the early years of breeding season, male Shi Shi repeatedly rejected Bai’s friendly advances. Our Panda Team decided to precede with our alternate plan, and Bai was artificially inseminated; this procedure eventually produced our first cub, Hua Mei.

I was there the day Bai gave birth to Hua Mei. At that time, some people were skeptical about whether Bai would make a good mother. I had no doubts, as I knew her that well; she would know what to do and care for her cub. Bai has now proven herself to be an excellent mother five times to date!

Who needs a hammock? September 2001

Another story that comes to mind is when our vet staff asked us if there was a possibility we could train Bai to do ultrasound procedures. In three days, Bai learned to lie down in a squeeze cage when asked, and within a few weeks we were obtaining ultrasound pictures! How did Bai learn this behavior? Well, she imitated me while she was sitting in the cage: I laid down next to the cage, and my silly girl thought this was a new game to play! I captured this behavior using a clicker and a food reward after she did the behavior. Bai never ceases to amaze me. Since the early years, our veterinarians have been able to document the development of a growing panda fetus up to the day before birth!

Bai checks out an interesting scent, June 2003.

As I look back on the early years to the present, I still am in awe over Bai Yun. She has taught us so much about giant panda biology. Through her, researchers have been able to utilize this knowledge in efforts to better understand giant pandas in the wild and how we can protect and preserve giant panda habitats in China. Our Bai is truly the matriarch of our conservation research program here at the San Diego Zoo’s Giant Panda Research Station.

Today, September 7, our grand lady is 19 years old. She is still just as beautiful as the day she arrived in 1996, a bright-eyed beauty who still captures the hearts of everyone who sees her at the Zoo and on our Panda Cam.

Happy Birthday, “Miss B”! Thank you for all you have done for us in the name of giant panda conservation, your five beautiful cubs, and for me personally. I am honored to be your keeper.

Kathy Hawk is a senior keeper at the San Diego Zoo. Read Kathy’s previous post, Panda 1st Grade.

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167 Responses to “Bai Yun through the Years”

  1. Linda says:

    Dear Kathy –

    That was beautiful – thank you!

  2. Dianna from Ohio says:

    Wow… this is what we’ve been waiting for. Thank you so much Kathy. I should have waited to read this at home instead of at my desk… now I’m trying not to sniffle and wipe tears from my eyes without my peers watching me…

    Queen B is truly one of a kind… 🙂

  3. Deb E. says:

    Happy Birthday to Hero Mother Bai Yun. Thank you for all you have done to help pandas in China, and thank you, especially, for Hua Mei, Mei Sheng, Su Lin, Zhen Zhen, and Yun Zi!

  4. Dee in Texas says:

    Kathy, thank you so much for such a lovely tribute to Bai Yun.

  5. Diana S. says:

    Oh, Kathy, what a tribute to Mama Bai! You brought tears to my eyes. You love this beautiful lady and it is so obvious. Thank you so much for sharing this personal account of your years with her.

    Happy, happy birthday, Beautiful Bai Yun!!

  6. Lisa in Colorado says:

    Thank you, Kathy, for all you have done for Bai Yun and her babies. Funny, I don’t think of her as being old enough to be 19. Happy Birthday Bai!

  7. Lee in Vancouver says:

    What a beautiful love letter to Bai Yun. I wish I could hear more.

  8. Sandra says:

    Thankyou for sharing this with us Kathy. Bai is certainly one lucky panda to have a devoted keeper like you taking care of her.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY BAI YUN!

    God bless you all for taking such good care of our pandas!

  9. Delia says:

    Awwww!!! thank you soooo much for sharing! Those were such great story’s! Happy birthday to Bai!

    I hope she has a great birthday! ♥ she is such a sweet bear!

  10. Rhonda from Thornhill says:

    Kathy, what a wonderful tribute to a wonderful bear (and to her amazing keeper as well).

  11. GRAMMMIE says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY BAI YUN……..SHE IS GETTING HER PRESENT FROM YUN ZI—HE IS PLAYING WITH HER NON STOP WHETHER SHE WANTS TO OR NOT.

  12. Roxi says:

    Nineteen years! What is that is dog years? (Just kidding). What is the normal life expectancy of a giant panda?

    Moderator’s note: Life span is about 14 to 20 years in the wild; up to 30 in managed care.

  13. Linda says:

    Happy Birthday to the most beautiful panda in the world!!!! 😀

  14. Vicki from IA says:

    I 100% agree with the other posters, she is a special lady. Happy Birthday Bai !!!!!

  15. Rebeca Rambal says:

    Beautiful post! Will we be having panda cake to celebrate her birthday today?

    Moderator’s note: Bai Yun received an ice cake this morning.

  16. Heidi says:

    It struck me as I read this that Bai Yun has passed on many of these qualities to ZZ!

  17. GRAMMMIE says:

    (and I hit the wrong key yet again.) A couple of months ago I found her 17th Beaarday poraits, and sent the links to the blog so all of you could enjoy some more of Rita Petita’s work. Now with her 19th portraits she doesn’t look a day over 16. Yunior thinks she is the new climbing structure he has been hearing and talking about….he is very excited.

    Yet again I missed the berday cake so I hope somebody got it on video, and/or photos Happy Bear day Bai Yun, may you see many more……Love Grammmie

  18. Jeri says:

    Kathy, what a wonderful tribute to beautiful Bai! She is truly a hero mom, and is very lucky to have such wonderful keepers. A very happy birthday to you, Bai Yun!

  19. Toni says:

    Yaay. Happy Birthday mom Bai Yun. Yes. She is such a wonderful mom. I love watching her interact with Yun Zi on the web cam. Seeing how protective she was when I was there in June proved another point. When kids were yelling just above the Panda exhibit, Bai Yun went up to Yun Zi and wrapped her arm around him sheltering him. Once the kids were told to tone it down, Bai Yun was less anxious. Humans can totally learn from these cuties.

    Thank you for the stories. As I read what you type, I can visualize what happened with you jumping around. How funny!

    I also liked watching Yun Zi play with the new things on the tree.

  20. Cindy/Tx says:

    Kathy,

    Thank you for sharing. That was so beautiful. You and Bai Yun both are so lucky to have each other.

    Happy Birthday Mrs. B!

  21. Kim says:

    Happy birthday to the gorgeous Mama Bai Yun!

  22. Felicia says:

    Ah, just a beautiful story. Made me teary eyed for our beautiful mother Panda! Happy Birthday Bai, you’re so precious in so many ways!! Thank you Kathy!!

    xoox

  23. Linda says:

    I have to admit I was wiping tears away, as well. Happy Birthday Bai!

  24. Pat Anderson says:

    Thank you Kathy! What a truly loving and endearing post. Bai Yun is such a special panda and I can only imagine the memories you have made with her. Thanks for sharing some of those very early happenings with Bai. Happy Birthday Bai Yun, Pat

  25. Jerry B. in La Mesa says:

    Thank you Kathy for sharing all the great moments of Bai Yun through the years at the SD Zoo.

    HaPpY BiRtHdAy Bai Yun!!!

    We’re wishing you a very special day of celebration as you enjoy delicious bamboo and treats, and receive all the “Giant Panda Love” from Yun Zi, the wonderful SD Zoo Keepers and all your Fans … like me! Wishing you a long and beautiful Life Momma Bai! You are the dearest in my heart!

  26. GRAMMMIE says:

    Silly me—–I forgot to give you the link in case any of you do not have it handy.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ritapetita/

    There are 4 of them now, but I am not sure if more of them will be seen later in the day. Thank you Kathy.

  27. Judy in Texas says:

    Kathy, what a beautiful and touching tribute to Bai Yun.

    “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BAI YUN” A BEAUTIFUL AND VERY SPECIAL PANDA!!

  28. Joanne Stewart says:

    Happy Birthday to a most precious Panda Mom!

    Oh Kathy, I am so jealous

  29. Tiny says:

    Happy Birthday Momma Bai Yun!! Thank you for sharing some of your memories with us Kathy. How wonderful it must be to have spent 14 years with those precious creatures. Bai Yun is still beautiful, radiant even, with a twinkle of mischief in her eyes 🙂

  30. KJ says:

    What a lovely tribute to Bai! Will she get a pretty ice cake for her birthday today? Can’t wait for the pics!

  31. LJ says:

    Kathy, that brought tears to my eyes. What wonderful stories and wonderful memories you have.

  32. Maureen in Stanwood, Mi says:

    This is AWESOME – thanks for sharing :):)

  33. Kristi 4 Pandas, Austin, TX says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY “HERO MOTHER” BAI YUN! I can’t believe you’re 19 years old today! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, BAI YUN! You’re a beautiful mommy bear and my hero panda mom. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR BABIES: Hua Mei, Mei Sheng, Su Lin, Zhen Zhen and little Yun Zi. You’re the best mommy ever! Thanks for all you’ve done to help your species. Your legacy will live on for generations to come because of your greatness. LOVE YOU, BAI YUN!!

  34. Julie says:

    Weep, weep! What a beautiful. loving tribute to an inspirational bear. Thank you for sharing her story and your friendship.

  35. kat w says:

    Dear Kathy, what an honor for you to be such good friends with beautiful, enchanting Bai Yun. I am sure she is very thankful every day, as well, to have you as a dear friend and keeper. There aren’t many humans on this planet earth that can feel and share this with everyone. Isn’t it never ending what these amazing creatures can do? They could probably rule the world a lot better than us humans, given the opportunity, and with less destruction and much more peace on earth.

    Happy Birthday, Bai, as I said earlier, you give me such joy every day through your outside beauty, your inner beauty and your darling children. Watching you always lifts my spirits.

    Enjoy the day with your dear friend Kathy!

  36. Gracie says:

    Happy Boo-rthday to my favorite momma bear!

    Kathy, thank you so much for such a heartwarming blog on this special day. Bai Yun, now a grandmother, has never stopped to amaze us with her charm and personality. Isn’t she just like an old friend to all of us?

  37. barbara says:

    Thank you Kathy for a beautiful tribute to Bai Yun, the words you said shows just how much you care about her. I think Madame Bai was lucky to have you as the first person to interact with her and she has rewarded you in may ways. I see in videos the excitement on you face with each new baby that she has, You are lucky to have each other.Your dedication to these animals are deeply appreicated.

  38. Kristi 4 Pandas, Austin, TX says:

    Thank you, Kathy, for the wonderful tribute to “Miss B”. It put a lump in my throat reading how Bai would “play” with you. What a wonderful mother our “Miss B” is. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, Kathy! Keep ’em coming please!

  39. kathy says:

    Pass the kleenex here too please *sniff*. Beautiful tribute to a beautiful mama bear, thank you Kathy! Happy Bearday Bai Yun!!

  40. Susan (UK) says:

    Kathy, it’s obvious how much you love Bai Yun from your beautiful post. It must be fantastic to have such a close relationship with her. I’m sure Bai feels the same too.

    I wished Bai a Happy Birthday on the previous blog, but a girl can never get enough Happy Birthday wishes! Happy Birthday again Bai. Hope you get some treats and (maybe) a cake all to yourself.

  41. Frances in NYC says:

    Kathy–thanks so much for your lovely tribute to Queen Bai from someone who knows her best. It’s wonderful to hear of her playfulness and intelligence, which we see passed on to her cubs. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that Zhennie is still so playful and funny–she may just be more like her mother than most of us know.

    I’ve read in other blogs that Bai obeys more commands than any other panda–which no doubt is one of the reasons she has contributed so much to the knowledge of panda biology, which has in turn contributed to the increasing success of panda breeding programs all over the world. Of course, I suspect that none of that would have been possible had you not forged the bond and the trust with her that you did from the beginning.

    So thank you, Kathy, for all your work and play with Bai Yun. I think she should also be honored that you are her keeper!

    Happy Birthday, Bai, and thank you, Kathy!!!!!!

  42. inparadise says:

    Kathy: Thanks for the great post! Hard to believe that Bai is 19. I think Yunior wants to celebrate her birthday…….all day long!

  43. Alice says:

    Happy Birthday Bai Yun. Today we celebrate with twins at Madrid Zoo

  44. Martha says:

    Thank you, Kathy for such a heartfelt tribute to Bai Yun. She is so sweet and so tolerant of those cubs. Thanks for many, many hours of pure enjoyment watching Bai and her cubs on the Panda Cam. Wish I could see her in person some day (hard to do from New Jersey). The world is blessed to have the conservation program at the San Diego Zoo. I can’t wait fort the pictures. Happy Birthday, Bai Yun.

    Moderator’s note: We do not have photos of Bai and her cake, but perhaps those who were there this morning can post their photos on the Zoo’s flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/groups/sandiegozoo/

  45. diane says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY MS BAI! What a wonderful story, Kathy. At her age, I am thinking it is time for her to retire having produced 5 beautiful babies – time to rest!

  46. Pandalover says:

    Happy Birthday, Bai Yun! Wishing you many more!

    Thanks to the CO for the keeping up with the little fella this morning! 🙂

  47. Bobbie Wood says:

    Thank you for sharing such wonderful moments you have spent with Bai Yun, Kathy. Tears. Yes. Like so many others because you wrote from your heart. Bai is indeed a champion, and you and all the staff are also champions! Thank you so much for writing this post. And…Happy Birthday (again) to Beautiful Momma Bai Yun!

  48. Inge, Vienna says:

    Hearty thanks to Kathy for this nice story about Bay Yun and they, this make tears in my eyes if I read this .

    Thank you they divide theirs memories with us.

    Happy birthday Bay Yun and thank you for the small sweet Prince Yun Zi!!!

    Love greets to all from Vienna

  49. Frances in NYC says:

    And DoxieMom alert–Miss Zoomie has played with her red box and her floaty thing, taken both from her pool and thrown them into the moat, and she’s off–zooming and climbing and zooming some more!

  50. Bobbie Wood says:

    To All: DoxiMom has the video up on her Flikr site! Bai Really was very busy with her cake 🙂

    Here’s the link:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/pandalover19/4968473640/

  51. Marie says:

    Kathy, thanks so much for that beautiful tribute. bai is indeed a special bear. She has learned so much and taught you/us so much these past 14 yrs. Your write up shows what a special bond you have with her and how much you love her. 🙂

    As I watch her Zhennie zoom all over the place and hang upside down from tree branches, I think she inherited her mom’s comical gene. Thanks to the cam operator who is probably dizzy from following Zoomie’s every move for the past 10-15 mins. She is a JOY!

  52. Lisa (Georgia) says:

    What a heartwarming story. Thank YOU, Kathy.

  53. Danielle, NY says:

    Thanks Kathy for the story of your friendship with Bai Yun. I knew that the pandas were learning by imitating their human keepers, but not to that extreme, quite funny. Did you have to eat the treat before she did??? Pretty sure Bai Yun did not need training for that…

    Zhen Zhen seems to want to show us what Bai Yun has given us in return, by showing off, running around her exhibit, up and down the structure. She doesn’t seem to be able to stand still for a minute…

    Have a happy Birthday Bai Yun, and many more… And thank you from the bottom of my heart for the 5 beautiful cubs that you gave birth to. We are so fortunate to have been able to see them growing into independent pandas with personalities of their own. Yun Zi has still some growing to do but he seems to become quite his own self already.

  54. Dianna from Ohio says:

    Grammmie: Thanks for the Rita link. The first couple of pictures I can picture Bai turning somersaults and running the fenceline with Kathy… She has that ornery twinkle in her eye… 🙂

  55. Kate says:

    Kathy – what an awesome tribute to Bai. Are there any videos of the two of somersaulting together? Bai and Yun Zi were playing very sweetly this morning, at least when I was watching. What a wonderful mother she is.

  56. Susan Ostanek says:

    Happy birthday Bai Yun! And thanks so much Kathy for your beautiful tribute to my favorite hero mother, Miss B!

  57. Dianne in Texas says:

    Kathy, what a lovely story about our ‘wonder-mom’. Happy Birthday Lady Bai, and I don’t use the term loosely, as you are a true lady in every aspect of the word. Lady Bai is a perfect model for every panda-mom in the world. And, Lady Bai, you are not getting older, you are just getting more beautiful.

    Here’s also a belated Happy Birthday to Mei Lan, who was 4 years old yesterday. Mei Lan is another perfect lady-in-training. 🙂

    Thanks, camera operator, for the wonderful job of following Zhen Zhen, alias Zoom-Zoom, this afternoon. I know, you lost her a couple times, but she was zooming around so fast, it would be difficult for anyone to follow with a camera. Zhen Zhen, you make my heart happy! 😀 China is in for such a treat…..a surprise, but a special treat!!!

  58. Linda A. / NorCal says:

    Kathy, your story gave me goose bumps. Thank you for a most enchanting, funny post.

    Lady Bai, Sweet Momma, Happy Birthday to you. You are a treasure!!!!

  59. kat w says:

    When Zhennie goes up in the tree real high and looks over the cement wall, what is she looking for, is there
    something in particular she is attempting to get a glimpse of???? My heart goes out to her, she looks so
    desperate to see something! I’ve seen her do this so often.

    Moderator’s note: It usually means she can see a keeper on the other side, and that’s ALWAYS entertaining!

  60. Kathy says:

    Great women are born on September 7th – Queen Elizabeth the first, Bai Yun, and me.

    Thank you so much for this reflective tribute to Bai Yun. I have enjoyed watching her since she’s been on the internet. I have gone to the several times just to see her and her darling children. Bai Yun will live on forever through her babies. It will be interesting to continue to watch the results of her offspring. Look how many have been born already.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY BAI – YOU’RE QUITE A LADY PANDA

  61. Kathryn says:

    Thank you very much for sharing, Kathy, what marvellous memories you must have to look back on. And a big Happy Birthday and many happy years to the most exemplary of panda-moms, Bai Yun!

  62. barbara says:

    In honor of Madame Bai’s birthday I made a donation to the wish list for snow. Happy Birthday

    Moderator’s note: What a nice birthday gift, barbara. Our brown bears thank you!

  63. Diane of Lincoln, Ca. says:

    Kudos to Kathy for her fabulous post. Happy, Happy Birthday to Bai Yun and many more. Thanks to Flicker

    for the beautiful photos of all our bears. Also, to all who give us sites to see more bears!

  64. Rose N says:

    Hi Kathy, Thank you very much for the sweet memories of Bai Yun. Your description of the early days with Bai made me feel like I was there with you, (I wish). Also, many thanks for the wonderful work that you do for all of our beautiful pandas.

    Happy Birthday Bai Yun – the most magnificent mommy giant panda at the San Diego Zoo!

  65. Amanda says:

    Happy Birthday Beautiful Bai Yun!

    Such a lovery tribute to her Kathy. Thank You for all you and everyone else at the SDZ do for these precious animals! ~sniffles~

  66. Rita Petita says:

    Happy Birthday Bai Yun! Your beauty still takes me by surprise everytime I see you.

    My favorite time in the exhibit (besides seeing you with your cubs) is to see the surprised look on peoples faces when they first catch a glimplse of you. Just yesterday when you made your entrance from the bedroom at lunch time there was a loud AH! from the people waiting to see you, I am sure you are used to it by now.

    It was my pleasure to spend your 19th Birthday morning with you. May you have many more birthdays with us and thank you for all your wonderful cubs.

  67. Julie Samuelson says:

    I have come to love everything about these pandas, including the Grand Matriach “Bai Yun. I live in MIchigan and only see through the webcam. I have visited the zoo three times: 1982, 1983, and 2004. It is a grand adventure that everyone gets to see these beautiful creatures and a testimony to the loving care they receive from the staff.

  68. Annie Hare says:

    Happy Birthday Bai Yun! Thank you Kathy! This is a wonderful post.

  69. Jessie says:

    Happy Birthday Bai Yun!
    Will SDZ prepare a cake for our beloved great panda mom today?

    Moderator’s note: She received an ice cake this morning.

  70. cindy in kc says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY MZ. BAI!! YOU ARE A GEORGEOUS LADY!

    YOU CHILDREN ARE AWESOME!!

  71. Mary from Brooklyn says:

    Happy Birthday, Ma, from your kids in Bifengxia, Hua Mei and Mei Sheng. We hope you have a great day and many joys in your life.

    Happy Birthday, Po Po, from Tuan Tuan, Hao Hao and all the rest of your grandchildren in between. Our mommy has told us many stories about how well you raised her so that she could be just as good to us.

    We all love you.

    Happy Birthday from me too. I love you also.

  72. Deb says:

    Thank you Kathy, for a wonderful walk through the years with Bai Yun. Happy Birthday to our extra special panda mom!

  73. Mary from Brooklyn says:

    Kathy, you and Bai really have a special relationship. Your tribute to her was so meaningful. Thank you so much for all you do for Bai and all the other bears..

  74. Deborah M. Brewer says:

    Thank you Kathy sharing your thoughts about Bai Yun on Bai Yun’s birthday!! May Bai Yun live a very long life!! She is Panda Mom Number One!! Happy Birthday Bai Yun!

  75. Kathy from Canada says:

    I know this is a Bai Yun thread – but great news just breaking! Lun Lun’s sister in law in Madrid has given birth to twin panda cubs today!

  76. Loriann says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY BAI YUN!!! My former neighbors were part of the Chinese team that helped transition your relocation here. You are a stellar Mom and a great partner to Gao Gao! I thoroughly enjoy watching you- particularly when you’re interacting with your amazing cubs! You’re the BEST! You are loved!

  77. Kathy in CT says:

    What an awesome celebration piece, Kathy. Bai Yun- you are the exquisite “mommy of mommies” to us and to panda conservation at SDZ- with style, elegance, charm, wit, patience, and spirit. Love you so!

  78. Rhoda says:

    Happy Birthday Momma Bai!! Hope you have many many more and thank you for all the great little cubs that you have given to us! Love you so dearly!

  79. Ralf (Schwedt,Germany) says:

    A Happy Birthday for a great mother (also grand ma). 5 Cubs in eleven years !!!!

    My respect for Bai Yun !!!!

  80. Britney says:

    OMG, the other day when I was at the store (for real) I saw this HUGE bamboo plant it was taller than me! It was $9.99 and I am getting it tomorrow, yep you can call me bamboo/panda fanatic!

  81. Britney says:

    Beautiful Bai Yun, thanks for putting up her most beautiful-est pictures up!

  82. Cassandra Duster says:

    Happy Birthday Bai Yun. I enjoy watching you and your children every day. May you have many more birthdays. Kathy, thank you for your story, your story tells how i feel about all the pandas everywhere. love them all.

    Bai Yun i hoped you enjoyed your cake today.

  83. Karin (the Netherlands) says:

    What a loving and lovely story, thank you Kathy!

    Karin

  84. Karen of Chandler says:

    Thank you Kathy for a great tribut to Bai Yun. A very Happy Birthday Bai Yun. I hope you have a great day. One of your birthday presents is already with you. It is Yun Zi and he will share your birthday with you.

  85. Dorothy, Colorado says:

    Kathy, thank you so much for this beautiful memoir! I have been bummed ever since I learned the girls will be leaving. We can never forget who started all this wonderment. She is truly amazing!

    Happy! Happy! Beautiful Bai! And Many, Many more!

  86. Suzanne K says:

    Happy Birthday Bai Yun! Thank you for all the wonderful gifts you have given us over the years (the cubs, the pictures, the memories….). Thank you Kathy for sharing your memories with us. I had to chuckle when I read about how the ultrasound training proceeded… it made me think of one of the other things that Bai Yun can do on command…. like urinating … LOL ! Somehow, I think a slightly different sequence of events was used for that training!

  87. Danielle, NY says:

    Great news, Hua Zui Ba gave birth today to twins in Madrid!! Sorry, I found the info only in German…

    Pandanews(dot)wordpress(dot)com/2010/09/07/madrid-zwillinge-fur-hua-zui-ba/#more-2326

  88. DoxieMom says:

    Kathy, thank you so much for this very moving tribute to “Miss B”. (Made me misty eyed) When we are fortunate enough to see you in a video, your love and devotion to Bai and her panda family shines through … your enthusiasm is infectious! Who can forget your reaction when you found out Yun Zi was a boy 🙂 So Happy Birthday beloved Bai Yun, and thank you Kathy … it is an honor that you shared her story.

  89. Danielle, NY says:

    Well, here it is in Spanish, but with only one picture…

    www(dot)zoomadrid(dot)com/ver-noticia.php?id_noticia=85

  90. Carolyn in Monterey says:

    I can only echo what the others have said… what a beautiful tribute to a beautiful bear. I just wish we could see some video of you romping around with her! The video I’ve seen from Australia of Funi and Simone playing chase and patty-cake through the bars and Funi standing on her head is utterly charming. (Do I have that bear’s name correct? If not, I apologize.)

  91. AuntiJackie says:

    What a wonderful post Kathy… you are a very special member of the San Diego Panda Team…thanks!!

    Happy birthday to our favorite mom.. Bai Yun. Five cubbies… amazing… and still quite young at heart.

  92. Joyce Marie Cockerham says:

    Bai Yun, have a fun birthday and a wonderful year! Thank you for all your work as a panda mom!

  93. Sharon says:

    Kathy, thank you so much for sharing your wonderful memories of Bai Yun. I always feel she has the most beautiful panda bear spirit. I’m thankful she has special people like you in her life – what a blessing she is for all of us, for her children and Gao Gao. Happy Birthday Bai Yun!

  94. Margaret says:

    Thanks, Kathy for a heartfelt tribute to Madame Bai Yun. I can’t imagine a better or more beautiful tribute to the Grand Dame of US pandas. You have both been greatly blessed with 14 fun years together. No wonder you were so popular with Yun Zi! He knows his mom’s friends when he is near them. I can’t imagine how you got Bai to urinate on command, but that took tremendous trust and understanding from her of what you were asking her to do. She is a phenomenal animal with quick understanding of human wishes. May you both be blessed with many more years of fun times together as she approaches her golden years in the CA sunset.

  95. Mary in Menomonee Falls, WI says:

    What a wonderful tribute to a very special panda. It brought tears to my eyes. Kathy, how lucky you are to be a part of Bai Yun’s life. Happy Birthday to Bai Yun and hopefully many, many more.

  96. Marilyn in California says:

    Happy Birthday Bai Yun!

  97. Gracie says:

    Dear Boo-rthday Wishers,

    As I turn 19 today, I would like to share some thoughts with everyone before Yun Zi comes home from school. First of all, I would like to thank the SDZ staff for giving me the opportunity to participate in the giant panda research program for the past 14 years. I feel I have truly made a difference in the lives of my fellow giant pandas! The future looks bright as worldwide research collaboration reaches one milestone after another. We giant pandas, an endangered species, have also become part of a global effort to raise awareness about conservation of all kinds – wildlife, habitat, energy, etc.

    Well, I could not have done it without the exceptional care of Kathy and all the wonderful nannykeepers! It is through them that I have thrived here at the SDZ. They are not only my family but also my best friends – longtime friends. They have helped me raise five healthy, smart, beautiful kids. As you know, my kids love to look up to the nannykeepers for inspiration. I feel very fortunate to have grown over the years with the nannykeepers and the big SDZ family!

    And how can I forget all the aunties and uncles out there? You are my big family outside the SDZ. You are the angels who make me feel young at heart. You make me giggle when I read your blog comments. You make my heart melt when I see the beautiful pictures you take of me and my family: how’d you do it? Thank you for all the fond memories! By the way, I just received a gift certificate from a thoughtful auntie who thinks I might enjoy spa treatments at my free time. Isn’t this the best boo-rthday present or what? After having five kids, I sure can appreciate a comprehensive spa package: honey facial, boo leaf body wrap, feetsie massage, claw-nicure, claw-dicure…

    I truly feel blessed, my friends! Thank you!

    With a Paw Hug,

    Miss B

  98. Annie Panda says:

    Thank you, Kathy, that was truly a beautiful post! The whole time when I was reading it, I was saying “Aww…” and smiling. Bai Yun is so wonderful, beautiful, calm and I think she is the best panda mother ever! I can’t believe how amazing and crazy your relationship is with her! She must really love you, wow it’s so amazing!! She is just the smartest panda! I hope (and know) she had a great day and enjoyed her cake! I feel so smiley right now!! Go Bai!!

    Peace, Love and Pandas CIAO! 😛 Annie Panda

    Bai Yun…- What would the Zoo be without her?!

  99. Pat in Portsmouth, NH says:

    Kathy, you’re SOOO lucky! These bears are so beautiful and fun to watch. Blow a kiss to ‘Miss B’ for me for her birthday. 19 — WOW!! She wears it well. Thanks to all for taking such good care of this precius critters, and for sharing it with us.

  100. Kasai from Baja says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY BAI YUN, YOU REALLY ARE MY FAVORITE PANDA!!!

  101. Bruce In KC says:

    BREAKING NEWS FROM PROJECT BAMBOO, THE TOP SECRET PANDAS IN SPACE PROGRAM:

    The Bamboo 15 Space Shuttle Mission is going well, with the successful docking of the Space Shuttle Discovery to the International Space Station at 7:00 PM National Zoo Time Tuesday evening. After closing in on the station, the rendezvous pitch maneuver was flown by Shuttle Pilot “X-Man” Xi Lan, followed by the successful docking by Shuttle Commander “Sooperpanna” Tai Shan. Assisting da Sooperpanna on the aft flight deck during the docking was Mission Specialist “Zoomie” Zhen Zhen, who operated the laser rangefinder. After docking and equalization of air pressures, the hatch to the docking adapter was opened by Mission Specialist “Honeybear” Su Lin.

    After the arrival ceremony and safety briefing by the ISS crew, the pandas dined on leafeater biscuits, bamboo shoots, and sweet potatoes.

    Later tonight Flight Engineer “Lanibear” Mei Lan and Mission Specialist “Fooey” Fu Long will begin preparations for unberthing and docking the Leonardo (NOT one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) Multipurpose Logistics Module. The two pandas will supervise the unloading and stowage of supplies throughout their stay while docked to the ISS.

    Photos will be made available later after being reviewed by Project Bamboo.

    Stay tuned for more information as details on this TOP SECRET mission are released. Project Bamboo, your TOP SECRET Pandas In Space Program, thanks you for your continued support!

  102. inparadise says:

    Classic Yunior today, as he rolled Bai’s ice cake down into the moat. He went down to survey the situation, then tried to pretend it never happened……….

  103. Peggy says:

    Thank you Kathy. You made me cry. I just got to thinking how much she means to all of us and as much as we all love the cubs, we love Bai even more. She is a part of us. I’m biased a bit as I think she is absolutely the most beautiful panda in the world.

    Happy Birthday dear Bai and may there be many, many more.

  104. Sally says:

    OK, where’s that kleenex box?

    I don’t get to stop by as much as I’d like too lately, so glad I was able to today.

    What a nice tribute and how lucky you are to have such a great relationship with Bai Yun.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

    Happy Birthday Bai Yun

  105. Janan Huntsberry says:

    Happy Birthday wonderful Mother you are Bai Yun!! Thank you Kathy for a fabulous tribute to a lady.

    We owe so much to you Kathy for maintaining Bai in the wonderful condition and enclosure she is in, and being such a good “friend and playmate” to her. We hope to see you at the next Panda Convention in March!

  106. Annie Panda says:

    Rita Petita- I see you posted a comment, I just wanted to say I LOVE your photos of the pandas! You are really an amazing photographer, I love the pictures of Bai Yun that were taken this morning. 😀 Your rock!!

    Britney- Ooh, the bamboo plant sounds so cool! Is it at the Panda Store or the main SDZ Store?

    🙂 There are so many heart-felt comments I have read, Bai Yun is so loved! 🙂

  107. Linda luvs pandas says:

    Happy Birthday Bai Yun! What a special,, loved bear you are! This is the article we have been waiting for, it is a beautiful tribute to this great animal. Kathy, Bai Yun is as lucky to have you caring for her as you are to have her! I actually teared up like so many others reading this. She is truly a joy to watch. If I am having a bad day, just to look at her beauty cheers me up; but to see her with Yunior, it is twice the treat! She is a very smart, special bear who deserves to be queen Bai each day! I hope Yunnie gave her hugs and kisses today and did not just pester her trying to watch as I observed earlier today! Gotta love a child’s energy!

  108. kimmi says:

    That was one of the best blog that I have read on SDZ. Happy brithday to Bai Yun. You have the one of the best job that I know of.Have fun very day.

  109. Weegee says:

    Happy 19th Birthday, Bai Yun…..U deserve all the best wishes from ur fans…… 🙂

  110. Tom & Michele says:

    Thank You Kathy!

    What a great retrospective! I so love Bai Yun – she is such a wonderful bear and a wonderful momma! Thank you for taking such good care of her for us all of these years. I’m almost as attached to our Panda Keepers as I am the bears themselves!

    A HUGE HAPPY B-DAY TO BAI! Hope it was half as wonderful as she is!

  111. Lynda, Lansing, Michigan says:

    Happy Birthday Grande Dame!! You lovingly care for your precious cubs and allow us all to share in their growth. SDZ keepers and “meerkats” you also allow us into this world of yours and share such wonderful information and precious stories. We are all so honored and blessed to have this ability. I will miss your 2 daughters when I make my visit in January but know that they are moving on to bigger and better things for Panda’s worldwide.

    Again, Happy Birthday Miss Bai!! God Bless!

  112. joan said says:

    happy birthday to our beautiful queen mom. many, many more.

    kathy, your tribute to your friend is beautiful.

    on a lighter note, can you still somersault?

    bless your most kind heart.

    joan

    painted post, n.y.

  113. Jeslyn says:

    After reading the article, my eyes teared up. I just hope China lets Bai Yun live out her years here. Happy Birthday Bai !!!

  114. Lucilla in Singapore says:

    Dear Kathy,

    What a lovely blog and how those 14 years must have flown by. Bai Yun does not look like she has aged. She is still playful. And she has an elegance and charm about her. Thank you for being her keeper and looking after her and her family.

  115. Grace says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Kathy! Thank you also for all that you have contributed to the Giant Panda Research Station and the conservation of these bears. I am certain that the happy, fun moments we witness are the product of all your hard work behind the scenes. The excellent well-being of these beautiful bears are no doubt the direct results of the wonderfully good care received from you and the team.

    A big happy birthday to our beautiful, playful, and loving mother panda Bai Yun!

  116. Karen in Edmonton AB Canada says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY BAI YUN

    Kathy, Thank you so much for this post. It has brought tears to my eyes. I know you love that beautiful girl so much, as we all do. Someday you will need to write a book about your experiences with your furry black and white family. If you do I know it will be from the heart.

  117. Claire says:

    I lived in Taiwan, though i never been to San Diego Zoo, but you guys beautiful words always make my eyes wet easily, thank you for sharing these detail very much.

  118. lu says:

    I can tell by the way you wrote the tails when you saw her and how you two took to each other.

    You have a great gift the way you love the panda’s and other animals. Thank you for telling us a couple

    stories with Bai Yun. You know that she loves you to.

    Thank you for unselfness care and love.

    lu

  119. Danielle, NY says:

    Don’t miss the update with a new picture and a video of Yang Yang and her cub in Vienna

    www(dot)zoobesuche(dot)net/2010/08/wien-willkommen-kleines-panda-baby/

  120. Deborah (No. Calif) says:

    Just have to add my words of appreciation for Kathy’s wonderful post — like everyone else, my eyes welled up with tears to read about the loving interaction between a caring keeper and her eager charge! What wonderful memories you have — thank you so much for sharing them with us. 😉

  121. Pam T says:

    Happy 19th Birthday beautiful lady Bai Yun you have been a wonderful mother and have also brought much to the zoo visitor and us cam watchers we love you.

    Thank you Kathy for all you’ve done for Bai and the other panda and we are so greatful you have share so much with us.

  122. Lainie says:

    Awwww… happy birthday to Bai Yun !!! =)

  123. Danielle, NY says:

    For those of you who have been following Hope and Lily, there is sad news from Ely, MN, one of the study black bear has been killed. I can’t believe the hunter(s) did not know about the strong request to spare the radio-collared bears as posters and info were all over the place, but then, the researchers picked her blood-spotted radio-collar from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources this morning. It had been turned in anonymously. www(dot)bear(dot)org/website/lily-a-hope/live-den-cam/609-sarah-bear-is-dead-.html I hope this news will be as well covered as all the good work and efforts done on behalf of the bears and the center by all the Lily’s fans.

  124. Dennis & Lynn Carney NW NJ says:

    Kathy : It is evident from your words that Queen B and you have developed a mutual respect for each other over the Years…..She still amazes us every time that we’ve seen her and her cubs over the years as I was in Love the first time I looked into those wonderful eyes of hers… Happy Bearthday Sweet Bai Yun and I swear your cubs have been the Fountain of Youth as you seem to get younger with each cub…. I HOPE to have Beary Good News soon as my Wife Lynn might be finally released from the Hospital after 21 months and we will be at the SDZ as soon as she is able to travel as she too fell in Love at first Sight with the Bai Yun & Gao Gao Clan of Bears…

  125. pandafan-north says:

    Kathy, what a fitting tribute to a most lovely and cherished creature, the great mama Bai. Thank you for allowing us to share in the joys of those early years; now we know how Bai Yun came to be the precious mother panda that she is today. Happy Birthday to the sweet, lovely and awesome Bai Yun!!

  126. Seiko says:

    Dear Bai Yun,

    Happy Birthday!!!!

    You are very beautiful and a excellent mother of five beautiful pandas!!!

    I hope you had a wonderful birthday today with your very special boy Yun Zi…!!!

    Love,

    Seiko

  127. Anna says:

    Happy Birthday, Bai Yun. You are a wonderful giant panda and I love you…and your keeper(s). You have brought many fans many hours of panda love. I saw you in person in March and I will remember you always. Much love to you and yours

  128. Aleksandra Lisewska says:

    Dear Kathy! Thank you for the story! Thank you for your wonderfull work ! My eyes are getting wet.

    Please, whisper in Bai Yun’s ear : happy birthday from Aleksandra!

  129. Steve from Puget Sound, Wa says:

    Kathy Hawk, you are an exceptional person with the most correct values and a truly class act. This is so obvious from the great communications that you provide to us Panda fans and the outside world. Bai Yun is also the most incredible Mother Panda and is always the mother of the year, bar none. She is so exceptionally attentative to her cubs that it seems so incredible to me that anyone of any species could be so focused and caring. I have been following your great act and the SD Zoo Giant Panda habitat since the birth of Zhen Zhen.

    Bai Yun is What an incredible species and you and your team are truly so outstanding that it is difficult to express how much we enjoy your team and the great Giant Pandas, Bai Yun, Gao Gao and all of their off spring. As Margaret (#94) says we are truly blessed with you and Bai and may you have many more years together.

  130. Heather says:

    Thank you, Kathy, for posting this on Bai Yun’s birthday.
    She is my favourite and always will be. I have watched her on the cam for many years. I just wish I was not so far away, otherwise I would be at the zoo every weekend!!
    Bai Yun is intelligent, good looking and the greatest panda mother ever. I will love her always.
    Also, it’s good to know that she will stay with you. Can you imagine if China wanted her back?
    Can they ever do that to you?
    Love and light to both of you and if possible, a hug hug for Bai 🙂

  131. Ruth from Austria says:

    Kathy, thank you so much for the lovely tribute to Bai Yun. Each sentence of it breathes the love and respect you have got for this beautiful animal. May you have many, many more years to share with this most amazing panda bear. Not only is she an excellent mother but also very intelligent and charming. I said already happy birthday on the previous blog. But here again: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BAI YUN, FOR MAKING MY LIFE SO MUCH RICHER!
    #87 AND 89 Danielle, I have got the feeling Vienna Zoo got the date of birth of the Madrid Zoo’s twins wrong. It could not have been already the 7th August, could it? Please read my comment on the previous blog.

    Moderator’s note: Madrid Zoo’s pandas were born on Bai Yun’s birthday!

  132. Heather says:

    Saw the pics Grammie!! thanks so much for posting that link…..wow she is such a gorgeous bear. I must say she looks in tip top condition all you keeprs must be so proud of her. What a pleasure, you beautiful bear!!!

  133. Cabernet0817 says:

    Happy Birthday Bai ! You have given us many years of pleasure and we salute you. Kathy, many thanks for the wonderful words of tribute you wrote on behalf of Bai. It indeed left me with tears in my eyes.

  134. Dianna from Ohio says:

    Hi Kathy,
    Did Bai exhibit certain behaviors prior to giving birth to Hua Mei that made some people wonder about what kind of mother she would be?

    Were you present for all 5 births? And does she REALLY urinate on command? I would love to know how that behavior was taught!! 🙂

    Do you and Bai still do somersaults and run the fenceline? 🙂

    Panda Team responds: We trained Bai Yun to urinate on command by “capturing” that particular behavior and rewarding her for it. Basically, keepers would bring her into an area where they would observe her, and when she urinated, they would reward her and tell her she was doing a good job. She caught on that they liked it when she did this and loved pleasing keepers for a reward.

  135. Danielle, NY says:

    Well, this morning I found an article in English about the twin panda cubs born in Madrid.

    news(dot)xinhuanet(dot)com/english2010/china/2010-09/08/c_13484888.htm

    There is also info and pictures on PandasLiveOn website.

  136. Susan B. in Canton OH says:

    I have become addicted to this sight ever since Yun Zi was born and agree with all the comments about Miss B. However, I do have a question. What is the span of time female pandas can have babies? If she is 19 now, how old will she be before she can no longer reproduce? Thanks for all the informational as well as entertaining posts by all the keepers!

    Panda Team responds: From our records of females in zoos, pandas over 18 are less likely to bear offspring. That said, Bai Yun has always shown exemplary reproductive behavior, so who knows what she has in store for us?

  137. Angie says:

    Thank you, Kathy!

    And, Happy Birthday Bai Yun!

  138. Bobbie Wood says:

    Video Alert 🙂 Ryoko123panda has several great videos of Zhen Zhen going nuts 🙂 Here’s a link to one:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFDsQ8O3vHs&feature=sub

  139. Danielle, NY says:

    #131 Ruth from Austria and #144 previous blog – You are correct, they wrote 7 August in the text instead of 7 September. I wrote a comment on both websites.

    There is also a video of the birth of both cubs on

    Pandanews(dot)wordpress(dot)com/2010/09/07/madrid-zwillinge-fur-hua-zui-ba/#comment-450

    I don’t think I have ever seen the video of the birth of the second cub while the mother is caring for her first born. Hua Zui Ba didn’t seem to want to have anything to do with it and turned around. We can’t see the keepers picking up the second cub but it is taken care off by the staff. I hope they will do what is done in those cases in China and switch the cubs every week or so, that way both cubs have the advantage of their mother care and milk…

  140. Danielle, NY says:

    In today’s update about Yang Yang and her cub in Vienna there is a picture with on the left Yang Yang and her cub at birth on 23 August and on the right Yang Yang and her cub on 8 September. Such a big difference in 17 days… The cub now look actually like a mini panda, with the shape and the black and white markings, not anymore just lengthy, small and pink … No wonder they seem to eat all the time at the stage!!!
    www(dot)zoovienna(dot)at/news/neuigkeiten-rund-um-das-pandajunge/

  141. claudia_n says:

    Thanks Katy for your tribute to Bai: it emotioned anch took my heart me very much. Ans thanks for allowong all of us to know the history of Bai.
    Bai is an excellent mother and what she has already done is outstanding both for humans and Panda’s World. And you are right when say she’s still beautiful: I was surprised to hear that she’s 19!!!! She looks younger!! (Pls tell her this, I’m sure Miss B will appreciate, as every women!! 😉

    By the way, also Bay Yun can be requested to come back to China and leave SDZ?

    Moderator’s note: There is always that possibility, but our current loan agreement states that Bai Yun and Gao Gao will remain in San Diego at least until 2013.

  142. Ruth from Austria says:

    Hi, everybody, just checked Zoo Vienna’s site. So far no update on the panda diary. Will keep you posted once new update.

  143. Carol says:

    That was so beautiful, Kathy. Thank you and thank you Bai Yun.

  144. Virginia Spiegler says:

    Anoher day for tears. But these were tears of joy for the wonderful post Kathy! We love you too, you know! And I know that Bai Yun loves you and trusts you with her little ones!Read also your kindergarten post. My favorite picture of Bai with Yunior is a shared love they were having and her playful response to his nearness, during a video. Now we know why Bai Yun is so playful with her babies. You shared your happiness of her from the beginning. What a wonderful post, and we are the lucky recipients. Happy Birthday, beautiful one, many more to come.19 is a mere baggatelle!

  145. Laura B says:

    Kathy, I agree with Karen #116 that you should write a Bai & Me” book. I bet you could go through Rita Petita or KJ Drill’s photos and the memories would flow like crazy. DoxieMom’s stuff is more recent but seeing Yunior do something might help you recall an event you shared with Bai, Gao & the other cubs. Most of us would like to know more about Shi Shi who fathered the first panda cub to survive in the US.

    I have a question about teaching Bai to lie down for the ultrasound. I’ve noticed that the universal signal for a panda bear to lie down in Thailand, Australia, DC or a polar bear at SDZ is for the keeper to lie down. Did you and Bai originate that?

    I fell in love with Bai watching her care for Yun Zi. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to see her mothering skills through all five cubs. I heard you say, “Bai Yun will determine when that happens.” or “We will take our cue from Bai to begin that.” Juli told us in March that if she approached Bai with you, she was completely accepted, but if you weren’t around that was not the case until she had been a panda keeper for a few months. That kind of mutual trust is rare. The story of its development will make an awesome book.

  146. Gracie says:

    The first cub born in the semi-wild, a male cub, was born on Zhen Zhen’s birthday!

    The new twin cubs born at the Madrid Zoo were born on Bai Yun’s birthday!

    They are all so special!

  147. Marie says:

    # 138 Bobbie: THANK YOU! I caught some of this on the webcam yesterday, but it’s so much clearer on YT. Such a silly girl. Love her!

    This video they took of Yunnie is adorable… love that back paw sticking up in the air. 🙂

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJHaG00He3g

  148. Danielle, NY says:

    #138 Bobbie Wood – Thanks for the link to the videos, the three videos of Zhen Zhen from yesterday are just hilarious. Just looking at her and you would think that pandas are related to monkeys!!!

    DoxieMom had posted quite a few videos from yesterday http://www.flickr.com/photos/pandalover19/

    But the sound on Ryoko123panda’s videos make the videos even better. It is nice to hear that she had such a appreciative and laughing audience.

  149. Marilyn in California says:

    I see Yun Zi didn’t shift out of the exhibit before the keepers came in. Maybe he’s learning to stay on top of the den so they don’t pick him up and put him in the tunnel. 🙂

  150. marcia519 in PA says:

    Kathy, thank you for the beautiful tribute to this beautiful panda lady. It was truly moving.

  151. Mary from Brooklyn says:

    Kathy, please update Bai Yun on the status of her youngest grandchild.

    Hao Hao:

    Your panda baby’s weight has increased to 30.2 kg. As it has begun to eat Wowotou and is able to have 200 g every day, it drinks milk two times instead of three times and each time 650 g. Besides, it has many carrots and bamboo shoots every day. Among all the meals, drinking milk is still the happiest time to all the panda cubs. When it is about time to have milk, they often flock together at the gate to see whether the keepers are bringing the milk. Your baby often finishes its own in a very short time and then tries to snatch other pandas’. Very cute. After meals, it stays on the trees most of the time. On the one hand, it likes climbing trees. On the other hand, it is very hot these two months at Bifengxia. It can be cooler to stay on the tree. So your baby is not only cute but also smart.

    Update from Pandas International

  152. Becky says:

    Such a lovely article … brought back memories of Bai arriving … going to see her … watching for news clips when she was expecting etc. Thank you.

  153. pandafan-north says:

    #138 Bobbie Wood – Thanks for alerting the fans to the videos by ryoko123panda. The ones of ZZ are so much fun and with great close-ups. So, everyone, make sure you get to watch them. Here is the link to ryoko’s channel:

    http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=ryoko123panda#g/u

  154. GRAMMMIE says:

    I HAVE ALWAYS SAID THAT WHEN CHINA SENT US BAI YUN THEY SENT US MAGIC. MAGIC HELPED Bai and Shi Shi with the addition of Hua Mei,

    then even greater magic took over when Gao Gao arrived along with his seed, Mei Shen, Su Lin, Zhen Zhen, and of course, our Yun Zi. If they never have another cub they have sent children and grandchildren on to fill the world with Pandambassadors to lift our heaars and spirits. How could we do any better???? Love Grammmie

  155. pandafan-north says:

    #139 Danielle, NY – I watched that video of the birth of the twins in Madrid and it actually helped me understand why the panda mother often abandons the second cub. In the video, Z Huiba already had the first cub in her mouth when the second one came out and, to me, the way she kept moving around, it looked like she was at a loss as to how to pick up the second cub since she already had hold of the first one. She heard the cub crying and she kept moving around, as if to make sure she didn’t lose sight of it, but she really looked to me like she wasn’t sure what to do. I really felt for her. And you’re right, they didn’t show the keepers picking up the second cub.

    It will be interesting to hear the progress reports on these cubs. I think, other than the one zoo in Japan, this is the first twin birth outside of China, but I could be wrong. At any rate, I’m very happy for Zoo Madrid and the people of Spain. First they win the world cup of soccer, and now they have panda cubs!

  156. Chanda says:

    My name is Chanda.. I’m 62 – as a child my parents said “Chanda – as in Chandelier”. In 1957 when I was 10, Nixon went to China to create international trade relationship.. the best thing out of that trade deal was the discovery of the awesome creature, the allusive Giant Panda. Since then my name has been Chanda like a Panda. I worked at The Nature Company starting in 1993 and purchased an “Adoption Kit” for Bai Yun. I have watched her and her cubs ..as any Grandparent would… since then. I am a very proud GrandPanda Grammie of 5 and a GreatGrandPandaGrammie of 7!! (that is unless Mei Sheng has had his influence that I have not heard of!!! I have an awesome pix I captured of Bai and Yun from the Cam where she is lying on her side with her paw up by her head ..and Yun on that paw.. awesome…

  157. Eva says:

    Beautifully written, Kathy!

    And Happiest Birthday to you, Bai Yun!

  158. Kris says:

    Kathy,

    Thank you so much for the touching birthday tribute to the ever youthful, beautiful Bai Yun. I have always envied your relationship with her. Even more so now! How awesome to have the love and friendship of this wonderful panda. She has taught us so much about her species over the years, has blessed us with 5 beautiful children to enjoy and provided hours and hours of panda cam entertainment. Happy Happy Birthday to you dear Bai Yun. May you be happy, healthy and enjoy many more years to come.

  159. Suzanne says:

    I’ve been away from my computer for a couple of days and I had forgotten that Bai Yun and I share the same birthday! A belated happy birthday to a very special bear.

  160. Marti the Panda lover says:

    Happy Birthday to a wonderful mother.

    Kathy, you made me cry, such a beautiful story. There is no chance of Bai ever being shippedd back to China is there. I hope not.

    Love to all the Panda’s and Keepers oxo

  161. Dawn from Ma says:

    Thanks Kathy. What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful Panda Momma! Brought tears to my eyes too!

  162. Shirley Williamson says:

    Happy Birthday Mommy Bai, A liitle late, you are a precious bear, and I have loved watching you with your cubs. Hope you got lots of goodies that day.

  163. Bernice says:

    What a beautiful account of your relationship with Bai Yun…she is indeed the most wonderful panda. Gorgeous, intelligent, and just simply amazing. Luv you my dear girl!!

  164. Marylin says:

    That’s a lovely story of you & Bai Yun. Thanks!! I have tears in my eyes.

  165. Kathy Hawk says:

    I just wanted to thank all the panda fans for the wonderful comments on my blog post of Bai’s early years; you all made me blush!!
    Thank you for your continuing support and interest in our black-and-white kids!
    Maybe someday I will write that book!

  166. Steve from Toronto, Canada says:

    Dear Kathy,

    There’s nothing I can say about the pandas that hasn’t already been said. I am delighted to learn that you and this very special panda have such deep affection from a very large following from all over the world. It’s without a doubt you have the best job in the whole world, even if it’s not the best paid. How many of us, myself included, can truly say: “I look forward to and enjoy going to work EVERY DAY?” Right now if someone offered you a million dollars a year to do a job you don’t like, you would have turned it down in a nano second. Am I right? Keep up the good work and many more healthy and happy years for Queen Bai Yun and her offsprings to come.

  167. Portlandian says:

    Bai is the most wonderful panda the world has ever known. Is she going to try for another next year, or is she too old?

    Moderator’s note: We’ll have to wait and see. See response to comment #136.