Archive for the 'Bear Awareness' Category

Panda Pregnancies 101

Posted at 8:51 am November 8, 2010 by Barbara Durrant

Our director of the reproductive physiology has provided some more answers to questions regarding panda pregnancies.

We are so pleased to learn of the birth of Zoo Atlanta’s newest panda cub. The 3-D pictures of Lun Lun’s cub in utero certainly were amazing. This advanced imaging is normally used in humans to detect skeletal and cardiovascular defects, but has become popular among human parents-to-be for getting a “sneak peek” at what their baby may look like at birth. Should our own Bai Yun become pregnant again, it is possible that we will also invite a local expert to help us obtain 3-D images of a cub (or cubs), as we do not currently own equipment that allows us to capture these images.  In our case, 3-D imaging would not replace our routine 2-D ultrasound scanning to monitor the growth of Bai Yun’s fetus(es).


Sprucing Up for the Holidays

Posted at 9:44 am November 4, 2010 by Ellie Rosenbaum

Bai Yun in 2001

As you may have noticed, the background is different on Panda Cam. Bai Yun and Yun Zi have been temporarily moved to the north exhibit (formerly called the “classroom”), and Gao to his back area for a few days to allow the keepers and horticulturists to make some magic in the main viewing areas. After all, November through mid-January is a busy time here at the Zoo, with vacationers, holiday celebrators, family visitors, and football fans in Southern California for the many Bowl games. Everyone at the Zoo wants their place to look its best for guests, and before the holiday rush is a great time for sprucing things up.


Wind, Snow, and Polar Bears

Posted at 10:48 am November 2, 2010 by Megan Owen

Two young males sparring.

Megan is reporting from Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. Read her previous post, Returning to the Polar Bears.

There are beautiful, calm, sunny days up here where you start to believe that you might begin to master the art of living in the polar bear’s Arctic home. But then, out of nowhere, the weather moves in. Of course the weather up here has any number of combinations of cold, rain, snow, and wind. And what really keeps you on your toes is that it can turn on a dime, leaving you feeling hopelessly ill-equipped to stand outside, even for a few minutes.


Panda Pregnancy Tests

Posted at 3:04 pm October 30, 2010 by Barbara Durrant

With the exciting news that Zoo Atlanta’s giant panda, Lun Lun, is expecting her third cub, there have been some questions posed by our readers about panda pregnancy tests. There is a new test for pregnancy in the giant panda that looks very promising. This test measures the levels of a protein that is activated during pregnancy. When the test has been used with more pandas that are pregnant and others that are not pregnant, its effectiveness can be confirmed. Stay tuned for more information as the studies continue.


Returning to the Polar Bears

Posted at 11:52 am October 28, 2010 by Megan Owen

Flying to Churchill, in Manitoba, Canada, always fills me with excitement and anticipation. And as the flight into town began its descent, I felt like I was going home. I love it up here. I love the smell of the cold and the enormous sky. I first came to Churchill in 1993 as a graduate student, and I am happy to return to the Polar Bear Capital of North America as a panelist for Polar Bears International’s Tundra Connections program.


Bai Yun and the Boys

Posted at 3:32 pm October 27, 2010 by Juli Borowski

“It’s quiet…too quiet…” we kept saying, for the first couple of weeks, anyway. Since Su Lin and Zhen Zhen left for China in late September, it has been very quiet at the San Diego Zoo’s Giant Panda Research Station. The girls’ departure was bittersweet for all of us. Saying goodbye to these bears that we’ve cared for since their birth was not easy. Of course, we know that their move to China is an essential part of the survival of the giant panda species. To aid in the survival of the species is why we all chose to work with pandas in the first place. Nonetheless, saying goodbye to the girls was difficult. At first, we keepers didn’t quite know what to do with ourselves. We got a lot of extra cleaning done, finished some projects that we kept meaning to get to, and basically drove each other crazy. In hindsight, we should have enjoyed the down time. We should have known better.


Panda Family Reunion?

Posted at 3:20 pm October 19, 2010 by Suzanne Hall

As a part of his training regime, staff has been asking young Yun Zi to traverse through some of the tunnels in the San Diego Zoo’s panda facility. At this time, the objective is to get him into an area where he can be viewed by veterinarians (no more hands-on exams for this bundle of energy!) and administered his regularly scheduled vaccinations. As a part of this training process, Yun Zi is sometimes in an area of the tunnel where he can peer into the exhibit currently housing his father, Gao Gao.


Teen Arctic Ambassador: Day 6

Posted at 4:28 pm October 18, 2010 by Rachel

A bear checks out the humans on the Tundra Buggy.

Rachel is the San Diego Zoo’s 2010 Teen Arctic Ambassador. She is sharing what she learns at Polar Bears International’s Teen Leadership Camp. Read the previous post, Teen Arctic Ambassadors: Day 5.

As Teen Leadership Camp 2010 starts to come to a close, I find myself reflecting on all of the great things that I will be taking with me back to San Diego. I have been so inspired by the wild polar bears, the presentations, and, of course, the other teen ambassadors. We formed a very tight-knit “family” during this past week, and it is going to be very hard for all of us to part ways.

From observing the polar bears in the wild and by brainstorming “green” project ideas with the other teens, I feel very motivated to come back to San Diego and do all that I can to make a difference. With the support of the other teen ambassadors, the facilitators, and others, I am ready to take action to preserve the polar bear for many generations to come.

I have learned so much from this experience; this past week truly has been eye-opening and life changing.

October Pandas

Posted at 12:44 pm October 18, 2010 by Anastasia Horning

October is Kids Free Days at the San Diego Zoo (and San Diego Zoo Safari Park Park), and we are getting quite a large crowd of children eager to see and learn about our smallest panda, Yun Zi. This has always been one of my favorite times of the year, partly because kids ask some of those questions most of us adults just never think to ask! This time of year presents opportunities for educating the kids on what’s going on at the San Diego Zoo, and it is also a time where we see a change in many of our animals’ behaviors.


Teen Arctic Ambassadors: Day 5

Posted at 10:44 am October 18, 2010 by Rachel

The teens were within inches of this female bear!

Teens from the U.S., Canada, and Australia attended Polar Bears International’s Teen Leadership Camp. Below is a post written by the whole group. Read a previous post from the San Diego Zoo’s 2010 Teen Arctic Ambassador, Teen Arctic Ambassador: Day 4.

Today the connection was truly felt. The force of climate change was driven home by Robert Buchannan and all of the facilitators and was helped by our resident two polar bears outside the window of our Tundra Buggy. Last night ended with incredible inspiration by a fellow ambassador, Alannah Watkins, and the facilitators, Cynthia and Andrew. We were dazzled by the map of the retreating sea ice in the Arctic, which drove home the importance of taking action.