Thank You, Panda Fans!

Posted at 12:37 pm November 23, 2010 by Kathy Hawk

Yun Zi and Bai Yun enjoy their remodeled digs.

Friday’s reopening of our giant panda exhibits was a huge success! It was so nice to see Bai Yun, Yun Zi, and even Gao Gao exploring their new areas.  Gao surprised us with his climbing skills: he really seemed to enjoy the new furniture!

Bai and Yun Zi were hysterical; we put out some loamex mulch in their cave, and they had so much fun rolling in the pile and getting very dirty! But that was not all: they entertained us by playing on the new climbing logs and exploring the new plants. I held my breath thinking little Yun Zi was going to go on a plant attack!

As a keeper, it is so rewarding to be able to take a exhibit space and turn it into a wonderful, enriching environment for the animals in our care. This all could not be possible without the generous donations of our panda fans through the Zoo’s Animal Care Wish List. The monies you contributed helped pay for the rental of the crane to set the new climbing logs in place, new plants, two new shade trees, and beautiful green sod.

I did want to mention it was a team effort working for almost three weeks getting our exhibits ready for the public. With this is mind, I want to thank our horticulture, and construction and maintenance departments, and sun bear and nursery keepers; they all pitched in to make our exhibits beautiful.

Remodeling our exhibits was truly a labor of love for our black-and-white kids. On behalf of all of our Zoo staff, we cannot thank you enough for your donations!  Please stop by our exhibits and enjoy seeing our pandas in their new exhibits. You helped make this happen!

Kathy Hawk is a senior keeper at the San Diego Zoo. Read her previous post, Bai Yun through the Years.

Watch video of the re-opening day!

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55 Responses to “Thank You, Panda Fans!”

  1. Emily says:

    I cannot wait to see the bears in their new exhibit! I have been so busy lately with my marching band, but I am finally returning on Friday with a friend of mine. I hope it isn’t too crowded!

  2. Dianna from Ohio says:

    Hi Kathy,
    You all did a great job with the new exhibits. It was fun to watch Bai and Yunnie self anoint themselves with the stinky dirt…. 🙂 Is this the first renovation for the exhibits since Bai and Gao arrived?

    Moderator’s note: No, Bai Yun was already here when we built our Giant Panda Research Station. She used to live in the area we now call our “north” exhibit.

  3. Deborah (No. Calif) says:

    Kathy: Those of us who were able to contribute to the Wish List are so thrilled to see the results. It makes panda watching all the more fun! Thanks for the efforts of everyone involved in making this happen. I can’t wait to get to San Diego to see our “kids” in their new digs. It’s fun seeing them on the Pandacam daily, but it is amazing to see them in the flesh! 🙂 🙂

  4. Danielle, NY says:

    Thanks very much for all you are doing for the pandas, watching them play, especially Bai Yun and Yun Zi, it seems that this change came at a very good time as Bai Yun had recently shown some signs of not wanting to interact with Yun Zi that much anymore. It is nice to see that a change in scenery brought her sense of fun back. Besides the video posted on the SDZ website, don’t miss the videos that DoxieMom is posting daily on Flickr

    She has also posted some very nice videos on YouTube as well.

    “2010 11 22 Yun Zi and Bai Play on the New Furniture!”

    “2010-11-22 Yun Zi Wants Bai’s Boo!!’

    Thanks very much DoxieMom for giving us a way to catch up on what we may have missed!!

  5. Lee in Vancouver says:

    You are more than welcome and I will see it all at the Convention in March.

  6. lu says:

    From what you can see on the video looks great. You can see by the way that mom and yunnie were acting

    they really enjoyed them selves. The team did a great job and looking forward to seeing it on Friday.

    Thanks to for a great job.


  7. kat wilson says:

    The newly decorated exhibits are marvoolous!!! I just watched the “reopening day” video, hilarious and so sweet!

    Every day should be like reopening day for our bears, you can just feel their giddiness and joy!

    Great post, Kathy!

    Hey, any word on our transplanted girls??! How’s my Zhennie?!! I’m going, oh so, through withdrawals, still! =o(

  8. Annie Panda says:

    Thank you for the post, I know we couldn’t have had enough money so quickly if it weren’t for the panda fans. As for the video- the exhibits look amazing, I can tell that Yunnie, Bai and Gao love it!!

  9. Diana S says:

    Thank YOU, Kathy, for taking the time to post! Via the pandacam and the video it sure looks like Bai and Yun Zi were excited about their new digs. And Gao climbing – how cool is that?! As one of the Pandafans who contributed I would personally like to thank all the construction crews, the plant people, the keepers and all others who made this so beautiful. I can’t wait to see it in person!

  10. Lucilla in Singapore says:

    Dear Unckles, Aunties and all the Nannykweeperz,

    I LUV IT! Thank you soooooo much for our new fun enclosure. Mama, Papa and I are enjoying all the new stuff especially the black stuff. It helps me learn how to disguise as a Andean Sun Bear hee hee. I hope we get some white stuff too so I can try being a polar bear.

    Papa enjoyed climbing and he said he passed that love to the jie jies especially ZZ. Most of all he loves the grass and a new spot to eat boo.

    Mama tells me the work was done by the hoomans at the zoo to make life fun for us. YAY to all the zoo hoomans! Also I wanna hug all the unckles and aunties who gave munies for the cwane to move stuff into our new home. THANK YEW.

    Yun Zi

    ps Can you please give my Mama her own hammock? She keeps wanting to sleep in mine. Thank you.

    Moderator’s note: We’re working on it, Yun Zi!

  11. Tom says:

    Terrific! Good for you guys. Now, I wish their cam was equal to the Polarcam and the Elephantcam. Better to watch their lovely souls!

  12. Lucilla in Singapore says:

    Dear All the American Uncles, Aunties and Nannykeepers,

    Mama tells me today is Thanksgiving! I give thanks for all of you who have shown Mama, Papa, my jie jies and ge ge, and me so much love and kindness. Thank you for welcoming me in your hearts.


    Hugs and kisses,

    Yun Zi, the baby still, hee hee!

  13. Suzanne from Elk Grove, IL says:

    #8 Annie Panda deserves a big thank you for asking how to donate a small portion. Breaking the big crane rental fee to small shares showed the power of networking. You are one smart girl.

  14. Marie says:

    Thanks Kathy for the post. It makes me happy to know that I was able to contribute to something that make our pandas so very happy. Too bad there is no video of Mr Gao climbing. I would’ve loved to have seen that. 🙂

  15. Deborah (No. Calif) says:

    I’ve checked over the past several blogs and noticed that we haven’t heard from Grammie for a while. Grammie, are you OK? Or does anyone know if she is all right?

  16. Frances in NYC says:

    Marie #14–DoxieMom to the rescue:

    Gao Gao climbs!

    Thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes, Lucilla–Thanksgiving is tomorrow (Thursday) and I am thankful for all the pandas, their keepers and the other fans like you who love and appreciate the pandas!

  17. mariana says:

    i like pandas

  18. Susan(UK) says:

    Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the pandas’ new enclosures. It really is lovely to see them enjoying themselves so much.

    And Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  19. Dianna from Ohio says:

    #15 Deborah – I had noticed that too… I had her email address so I sent her a quick note… Gao Gao and his fuzzy feetsies are feeling neglected…

  20. Kathy in CT says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

  21. pandafan-north says:

    #15 Deborah – yes, I have also noticed that Grammmie has not said ‘Hi’ lately. Another one I’m missing is the Pandas Live On posts. The last one is dated November 8. I hope the webmaster is doing okay and is all right, too. Isn’t it great that we are concerned for each other? Must be ‘panda love.’

    Happy Thanksgiving to all the panda lovers in the U. S. A. Be thankful, enjoy your turkey, and don’t spend more than you’re able to on Black Friday!

  22. Bobbie Wood says:

    Kathy Hawk and all at the SDZ: We are so grateful to you all for ALL the care, fun, love, you give to ALL the animals at the SDZ and the Safari Park!!! The cams, the blogs, the sharing that you all provide us is wonderful, and we appreciate every bit of it!!


    P.S: Gao Gao and Yun Zi told a ‘little bird’ that if anyone has pumpkin or apple pie left over, they’d be happy to help eat it. 🙂 Or, and sweet potatoes left over also 🙂

  23. karen from O.C. says:

    How wonderful to see our beloved pandas so happy and playful! They need a change of scenery too.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  24. Bamboo Britney says:

    Happy Thanksgiveing Panda Fans!! 😀

  25. Mary from Brooklyn says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all the denizens of the zoo and those who work there. I am so thankful for what you do with your charges — both animal and hooman. The yards are a thing of beauty and I was glad to contribute my very small share of the crane rental to them. Panda Annie does deserve a big thank you for suggesting that the big item be broken down into manageable shares. It also means that a lot more of us now have a vested interest in the yards. Hopefully, there are many more large expenses that can be broken down into small pieces.

    Anyway, guys and gals, enjoy the turkey!

    Moderator’s note: Lee in Vancouver was the first to suggest it; Annie Panda was our best cheerleader. 😉 We are thankful to all!!!

  26. Danielle, NY says:

    Don’t miss the update on the panda cubs born in 2010 that Jeroen has posted on his website


    34 Pandas were born in 2010, 31 cubs survived, that’s something to be thankful for too!!

    Also, don’t miss the new pictures of Lun Lun’s cubbie at the Atlanta Zoo, below the pandadcam and on www(dot)zooatlanta(dot)org/home/animals/mammals/giant_panda/giant_panda_cub_gallery

    Lun Lun stepped up on the scale, and 101 kg (222 lb) is within the range of her normal weight. Wee Lan also had a health exam today, I am sure we will get the results soon.

  27. barbara says:

    Wishing all the panda fans and all the zoo staff and of course our bears a Happy Thanksgiving.

  28. Pat in Nevada says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and ALL Bears♥♥♥

  29. Frances in NYC says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, one and all!!!

  30. lindaluvspandas says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all! Hoomans and animals also. I love the new exhibit space and watching the bears play was adorable. I love when Bai shows her inner child. I missed not seeing much of them on the cams but now it is great again! I was watching the tiny cubbie in Atlanta and thinking to the days of our little Yun Zi, my he sure has come a long way! Still adorable though.
    SDZ, anything in the works for getting the bears some snow? I would love to contribute and would love to see YunZi playing in it!

    Moderator’s note: We are still trying to raise money to provide snow for our three brown bear boys.

  31. Chari Mercier says:

    Hi! Just saw Doxiemom’s video of Gao Gao doing his climbing on the new logs. Who knew that Gao can climb at his old age?? He did a good job with his climbing skills despite not doing it for so long!

    On the AZ panda page, saw a great pic of the little baby panda boy. His fur has really grown out and he’s starting to get that very cute fuzzy fluffy butt look! He looks very healthy, too! They also took the time to weigh Lun Lun on the scale while she was out of the den to see where she was at on her weight since her last weighin on Oct. 30th. She lost a little bit of weight before she had her cub, but since she has been out of the den eating her normal amount of food over the last couple of weeks, she has gained pretty much her weight back. She’s a very healthy momma bear!

    Well, we should be getting some kind of news from the National Zoo officials sometime next month, December, about Mei Xiang and Tian Tian’s status on their lease with China, and whether they will stay in DC or go back home to China. Will keep checking the NZ panda page for any news on that front. There has not been a new update about the 2 pandas since June 23rd.

    Well, not much else except to say HAPPY THANKSGIVING to everybody & pandas, and especially to our illustrious moderator for making sure that our comments, complaints, and statements are on this page for everyone to read! She deserves Thanksgiving Day off to enjoy her turkey dinner! 😀

    Chari Mercier 🙂

    St. Pete, FL

  32. doreen in richmond va says:

    its officially thanksgiving here on the east coast.. hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving

  33. Lucilla in Singapore says:

    ‘Hey, Yunnie, wassup?’

    ‘Hi Ping, got a minute?’

    ‘Sure, cuz, Mama is not opening her milk bar yet.’

    ‘Hee Hee, mine neither. As you know Cwrismas is coming. And I thot that this year pannas can give back to the hoomans.’

    ‘OH WOWIE, tell me more…’

    ‘You know the nice hoomans have given us so much and they want to help us grow in numbers right?’

    ‘Yup, like I have kweepers who come and play with me, bathe me and feed me..’

    ‘So I thot this Cwrismas, we pannas can do something to hewp the poor hooman children…’

    ‘COOL! What shall we do?’

    ‘I am gonna call X Man, our relatives in China, the aunties and uncles in Memphis, Atlanta, Washington, Thailand, Madrid, Vienna and Mexico…’

    ‘What about the aunties and uncles in Japan and HK?’

    ‘Good point, can you help me make a list? Then we can do a video meeting. Tai Shan Ge Ge will help me set it up. Then whatever we do, the munies raised can go to help hooman children….’

    ‘Awwww, Yunnie, you are such a sweetie!’

    ‘Shucks, it is nothing. If we are blessed then we should bless others. That is what Mama keeps telling me especially when I am sleepy and dont want to wake up to meet and greet the uncles and aunties who come to the zoo. They have blessed us so much including this really amazing new stuff in our enclosure, so we should give back.’

    ‘Am with you, cuz. I am very blessed here in Chiangmai and every month they celebrate my birthday. I get so many toys…..I really feel like a Princess.’

    ‘OK, you’re in right? X Lan is in and so are Tai, Fooey, Hua Mei, Mei Sheng, Mei Lan, ZZ and Su Lin.’

    ‘OOOOooooooh, how can I not be in? Maybe the Panda Grrrls can do something?’

    ‘OK, let’s talk some more later. My milk bar may be opening, so ta ta for now!’

    ‘Bye Bye Yuntz!’

  34. Marie says:

    # 16 Frances in NYC: THANK YOU! 🙂

  35. Diane Lincoln, Ca. says:


    Thank you Kathy Hawke for your video presentation on the new upgrades! Also, for your post on the pandas new areas. Hope to check them out in 2011.

    Question: Will there be any posts on SunLin and Zehn Zehn, now that they are in they new homes? etc.?

    Thank You!

  36. ToniCiaoBella says:

    LOVE the video and watching Bai and Yun playing like that. Rolling around getting all ‘dirty’ looks like a blast!!

    Happy Thanksgiving! Being able to see the panda’s is part of the many blessings that make me happy. Thank you!

  37. Linda / NorCal says:

    I truly hope our narrators are not even thinking about working today. Thank you for all the work you do for us pandaholics. It is really appreciated.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of the panda family. I am grateful for all the new friends I’ve made through this blog. And for all the posts for everyone.

  38. Mary from Brooklyn says:

    Sorry Lee in Vancouver — didn’t mean to slight you. Whoever had the idea, it was a winner.

  39. Pandafan#2 says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!!! Will the pandas get anything special on this holiday? How old is Yun Zi now? (I was keeping track, but I lost count!) I <3 those pandas! They're awesome! I want to go to the zoo!

    Moderator’s note: Yun Zi is 15 months old.

  40. Pandafan#2 says:

    Danielle, #26, why is Lun’s cubbie known as Lan?

  41. Marcela Caro Flores ( from mexico ) says:

    Unfortunately I see that my comment was deleted because it was written in Spanish, so I wrote this in English, sorry for the censorship or whatever you name it

    Moderator’s note: Yes, our rules state that comments must be in English.

  42. Lesley says:

    #7 Kat Wilson wondered how the transplanted girls are doing?

    Here is a link to recent photos of SDZ alums Su Lin, Zhen Zhen, and Mei Sheng, and Tai Shan (from National Zoo) at Bi Feng Xia:

    pandanews (dot) wordpress (dot) com/2010/11/20/bi-feng-xia-mei-sheng-su-lin-zhen-zhen-tai-shan/#more-2535

  43. Frances in NYC says:

    Pandafan#2-#40–both of the first two Atlanta cubs had “Lan” in their names–Mei Lan and Xi Lan–for Atlanta. DoxieMom has nicknamed the new cub “Wee” Lan, because he’s so tiny. He won’t get his official name until he’s 100 days old.

  44. Laurie in Baltimore says:

    #40 Pandafan#2

    The new cubbie in Atlanta was given the nickname Wee Lan by our very own DoxieMom! He does not have a “real” name yet but she started calling him that as a salute to the two other Atlanta cubs (his sister and brother) named Mei Lan and Xi Lan. Hope that helps! 😀

  45. Frances in NYC says:

    Oh–and I forgot–Lucilla in Singapore is having knee surgery on Monday, so everyone send her good healing panda thoughts! Perhaps Dr. Gao Yun Zi will be attending?

  46. Danielle, NY says:

    #40 Pandafan#2 – I think it is DoxieMom who started calling the new born cub Wee Lan.

    Lun Lun previous cubs were called Mei Lan “Atlanta Beauty” and Xi Lan “Atlanta’s Joy”. I guess DoxieMom decided to continue with the “Lan” tradition… According to the Chinese tradition, a cub is named after a minimum of 100 days after the birth. But since the name has to have a meaning in Chinese, and has to be ratified by the Chinese authorities, I am sure Wee Lan will not make the short list. Perhaps our Chinese speaking friends could come up with something having a meaning in Chinese and sounding like Wee Lan!!!

  47. Danielle, NY says:

    Here are some more pictures of Su Lin, Tai Shan and Fu Long:

  48. kathy from Canada says:

    New photos this morning so Su Lin and Zhennie!!!

  49. Joseph from Illinois says:

    “New Digs”


    Keeper Kathy


    Bai Yun

    Gao Gao

    And, on the phone:

    Su Lin

    Zhen Zhen

    and Lin Ping.


    Yunior: Momma Bai, when we going on exhibit again? Me am missing da hoomans going aww!

    Gao Gao: This is a bunch of baloney sausage. I was just about to be put on, and I got declined.

    Bai Yun: They didn’t decline, Gao. And Yunior, soon the hoomans will be able to go aww again.


    (Momma Bai’s PawPhone starts to ring.)

    BY: Hello?

    Su Lin and Zhen Zhen: Hi! It’s your recently departed daughters!

    GG: Not to be offensive, but it seems you call every fifteen minutes you’re not on the phone! How are you?

    (Gao’s Pandroid starts to ring.)

    GG: Hello?

    Lin Ping: HI! It’s Lin Ping! How are you today, Mr. Gao? How is the family?

    YN: Linny! Hwi! Hoomans be able to aww again!

    (In Singapore, Lin Ping makes the cuckoo sign.)

    BY: Yunior, it’s not that hooman’s can’t aww. They are remodeling our home.

    (Yunior looks confusedly puzzled.)

    BY: In your young panda language, we are getting “new digs.”

    YN: Linny! Hwi! We getting new digs!

    SL: It’s really roomy here. And there’s lots of boys! I think I might have met somebody I like. His name is Ni Hao. He’s really nice. And he’s really strong! He can move one boulder across the yard and back again and not break a sweat!

    ZZ: You know, Su, I thought it was YOU teaching ME to not act like that. You know, brag about the future, but instead celebrate the present.

    LP: You know, when I went to your departure party in October, I could swear you were wearing a gi, Su Lin. And what you’ve recently posted on PawBook doesn’t look like you were wearing a gi a month ago.

    GG: Have you not been practicing your heritage? I told you, practice it every day! Use only Chinese to make it easier on the hoomans!

    (Keeper Kathy starts walking down the hall.)

    GG and BY: Umm, gotta go.

    (Gao flips down his pandroid and Momma Bai hits “End Call’ on her PawPhone.)

    KK: Hey guys! Ready for your new digs?

    (Keeper Kathy opens the door and the family starts exploring their new digs. And they all lived happily ever after.)


  50. Lee in Vancouver says:

    #38 Mary in B – No problem. The main thing is that we raised the money. I couldn’t donate it all myself so I just asked a few of my friends to help. I thought it was a great way to honour Su Lin and Zhen Zhen going to China. Now we can think of them every time we see the new and improved yards.

  51. Mary from Brooklyn says:

    Yun Zi, I think you are wonderful for thinking about giving back to hooman children for the holidays. Do you think mama and papa could arrange that with the zoo so that the rest of us hoomans could also contribute a little something to your fund. That way, we could all contribute. There are so many hungry children in areas of the GPs’ former ranges in countries like Nepal, Burma and elsewhere would be happy to know that pandas and people can work together for them.

  52. Danielle, NY says:

    Don’t miss the update on the pandas in Vienna, including a video of 3 month old Fu Hu, it will not be long before Fu Hu is putting his legs and his paws to good work!! Even though Fu Hu is getting bigger, the end of the video shows him next to mommy Yang Yang and he still look very small in comparison. There is also a picture of daddy Long Hui sleeping after his lunch.


    You can also watch the video on YouTube

    Yesterday I saw Wee Lan sticking his head from under mommy Lun Lun’s chin, and his head is about the size of her eye patch!! The numbers from his Wednesday’s health exam are posted below the pandacam on the AZ website. His weight is 714g (1.57 lb) and length from tip of nose to tip of tail: 33.5 cm (13.2 inches) at 21 days old, which is more than Mei Lan 671.6 g (1.48 lb) and Xi Lan 544.8g (1.2 lb) at 19 days old. In comparison, Yun Zi had his first exam on September 3, 2009, when he was 29 days old and weighed in at 1,259 grams (2.8 pounds) and was 14.7 inches (37 cm) long. According to my own record, Lin Ping’s weight at 27 days old was 1,280 g (2.82 lb), my first recording for Lin Ping.

  53. Linda / NorCal says:

    I keep checking the cam, and Gao hasn’t quit eating for what seems like hours!! He is so cute.

  54. DoxieMom says:

    Frances in NYC #43, Laurie in Baltimore #44 and Danielle, NY #46, I would like to give credit where credit is due 🙂 Lonette on the HancockWildlife Forum came up with the nickname Wee Lan for Lun Lun’s new cub. The name was so precious, many of us in the panda community are using it.

    Thank you Kathy Hawk for acknowledging the panda fans contribution to the crane. Yun Zi showed us this morning that it is now possible to go from the rock structure, up through the tree, down the new large log and wind up playing on the stumps 🙂

  55. Lucilla in Singapore says:

    Thanks, Frances in NYC. I am going in now to the hospital and I hope Dr Gao Yun Zi will be there to hewp me with my recovery and Matron Bai to look after me when I recover.

    Moderator’s note: May you have a speedy recovery, Lucilla!