Archive for the 'Giant Pandas' 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.


Neighborhood Creek to Zoo

Posted at 2:42 pm November 2, 2010 by Ron Swaisgood

Ron and his family on a nature hike.

October was Kids Free Days at the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Our Institute for Conservation Research staff shared their interactions and connections with nature at a young age and how these connections put them on their career paths. Read a previous post, Desert Memories.

It’s a little sad to see Kids Free month—and our renewed focus on getting kids and their families out in nature—come to a close. Every day of every month should be kids in nature day! That’s how I remember my childhood—the long summer days spent exploring the local creeks and woods, the afterschool afternoons spent building forts and treehouses, the weekend camping trips to the beach and the mountains. I grew up in suburban North Carolina, but there was plenty of nearby nature to sink my muddy feet into. The thing is, you don’t need a National Park to experience nature, you just need a canyon, a creek, or a vacant lot to cultivate some nature rituals.


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.


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.


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.


A Child’s Experience in Wolong

Posted at 9:44 am October 9, 2010 by Megan Owen

October is Kids Free Days at the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. During October, staff at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research are sharing their interactions and connections with nature at a young age and how these connections put them on their paths to becoming conservation biologists. Read a previous post, Observing Nature as a Child.

In 2000, I was given the opportunity to study pandas at the Wolong breeding center. This trip to the reserve, nestled in the Qinling mountains of Sichuan Province, China, would be for several months and would be during the winter. The thought of studying the behavior of giant pandas in these snow-covered mountains had so much appeal. Of course I wanted to go! There was one catch though: I had two young children. My son would be three during our stay, and our daughter would be just eight months old. With this in mind, I thought I had to turn down the offer. How would my children cope with the (then) rugged conditions at Wolong? And how would they deal with the transition from warm and sunny San Diego to the snow and chill and rain of the Wolong winter? (more…)

Weaning Panda Cubs

Posted at 9:54 am September 30, 2010 by Suzanne Hall

Before anyone reads the title of this blog post and panics: No, we are not ready to facilitate the weaning of Yun Zi from his mother!

Our littlest panda is just over a year of age. When he is closer to the traditional age of 18 months, we will aid Bai Yun in weaning her offspring, but I have seen in the comments of recent postings that there have been several questions about the separation process. Here I will attempt to respond to some of those inquiries.


Hello, Handsome Gao Gao!

Posted at 12:47 pm September 27, 2010 by Anastasia Horning

As Su Lin and Zhen Zhen were getting ready for their move to China on Friday, September 24 (see Make Us Proud, Su and Zhen), an old, familiar face came back into the spotlight: Gao Gao has emerged once again into our front viewing areas! He had been in his own enclosure, behind the scenes, enjoying his quiet time and working with keepers training him to participate in the ongoing panda hearing study.