Panda

UPDATE! Panda Cub's First Snow Day at San Diego Zoo

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It was all about new experiences as the youngest member of the Giant Panda family, Xiao Liwu, got to play in the snow for the first time today at the San Diego Zoo. The seven-month-old cub explored his snowy exhibit and had fun climbing all over mom Bai Yun, playfully nipping and wrestling with her in the snow.

Over 15 tons of fresh snow was blown into the pandas' exhibit early in the morning on March 19th as part of an enrichment surprise for the pandas. The snow for the Giant Pandas was made possible by generous donors who contributed enough funds to the Zoo's online Animal Care Wish List to provide 30,000 pounds of snow.

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Photo Credits: San Diego Zoo

Watch the pandas enjoying their snow day: 
 

See more photos after the fold.

Continue reading "UPDATE! Panda Cub's First Snow Day at San Diego Zoo" »


Help Make More Baby Pandas!

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Giant Pandas don't much like to breed. This is bad news for the species and bad news for those of us who demand more panda cubs in our lives!

Fortunately, researcher Meghan Martin is taking on this prudish-panda-challenge. Her new project aims to determine whether providing pandas with a choice of mates, rather than just one, increases reproductive success.

Meghan is raising money on a new crowd-funding platform called Microryza, which allows individuals to directly follow and fund scientific research. How cool is that? She only has 18 days left and A LOT of fundraising to go. She won't meet her goal without our help. So ZooBorns fans, here's your chance to directly contribute to the science that results in the babies you love and the conservation causes you care about. Learn more about Meghan's work and do your part on the project page - Increasing the reproductive success in captive Giant Pandas

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To whet our baby panda appetite, she also shared these wonderful photos of cubs born at BiFengXia Panda Base, where her research will be conducted.

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Meghan Martin provided the following background on the cubs in these photos: 

The babies don't have names of yet.  They were born in the BiFengXia Panda Base (right outside of Ya'an, China) in July-August making them about 8 months old.  This is the base where all of the Wolong pandas were moved after the 2008 earthquake.  We've actually collected our first year of research data on these babies, their moms, and their dads.  

The babies don't have names yet - it's tradition in China to wait until they're older to name the cubs.  Right now they just call them "xiao" (small) and then their mother's name.  The pictured cubs are Hua Mei's cub, a San Diego born panda, Long Xin's, Shui Xiu, and Xi Mei cubs.   All of these pandas except for Hua Mei had two cubs.  Si Xue, Guo Guo, and Ye Ye all had cubs as well but they are not pictured.  

I've spent the most time watching Hua Mei's cub - she's a climber and is the one pictured in the tire swing!  Just yesterday she climbed to the top of a tree in one of the natural enclosures (picture attached).  In the wild the mother will often leave the cubs up in the trees while she finds food (kinda of the opposite from deer).  Long Xin's cub likes to curl up into a little ball on the platform and sleep all tucked in on himself.  
At this age, they mainly love playing with each other, climbing, and getting into trouble. They're so inquisitive and investigate even the smallest bug in their enclosures. They all have this cute little instinct to roll up into a ball if you scratch the top of their tails and then you can roll them along the ground. 

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So make a direct impact on the future of a species and invest in new Giant Panda cubs with a small donation to Meghan's groundbreaking research here
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UPDATE! Playful Giant Panda Cub's Wiggly Vet Check at the San Diego Zoo

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Six-month-old Xiao Liwu, a Giant Panda cub born on July 29, 2012 at the San Diego Zoo, has become very strong, and isn't very interested in sitting still for his check-up! Despite that, Zoo staff were able to complete the exam on Wednesday morning, which started with Veterinary resident Matt Kinney, DVM, listening to the baby's heart and lungs. It took three sets of hands to measure the rambunctious baby, but the news was all good. 

Xiao Liwu weighed 19.4 pounds (8.8kg) and measured 24.6 inches long (88 cm). He's growing at the expected rate and is very healthy. The cub has also had more teeth break through his gums. This time around, both incisors could be seen. 

While his physique is slimming a bit, he has gained a lot of muscle in his back legs due to climbing trees and all the new activity he does in the exhibit. Despite his improved agility, Xiao Liwu has taken several tumbles while on view to the public. But it's all part of growing up; animal care staff expects the cub to take falls while he's learning to walk and climb. 

Xiao Liwu can be seen at play daily online, via the zoo's live Panda Cam.

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Photo Credit: Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo


UPDATE! San Diego Zoo's Panda Cub's Toys Prepare Him for Foray into Habitat

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Yesterday was a big day for the San Diego Zoo's Giant Panda cub, Xiao Liwu: this was his first time greeting onlookers. The cub stepped into the outside habitat by himself in morning on January 9 and climbed through the bamboo as employees and media representatives got their first glimpses of the five-month-old.

Panda staff say the cub is a confident climber but may have some tumbles while he's getting used to the new habitat, which is very normal. There are trees, a moat and rocks to climb over, which are all new elements for the cub. In late December he was given toys during his vet exam that helped him prepare for outside exploration, including a doughnut-shaped plastic ring (perfect for panda sitting), a stick of bamboo and a plastic ball. 

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Photo Credit: Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo

Only 1,600 Giant Pandas are believed to exist in the wild, and the species is primarily threatened by habitat loss. San Diego Zoo Global, in conjunction with Giant Panda experts from the People's Republic of China, continues to work on science-based panda conservation programs at the Zoo and in China.  

Here's a video of little Xiao Liwu as he navigates the great outdoors with mom.

  


Panda Cub Has a Ball at His Exam

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The San Diego Zoo's Giant Panda cub, Xiao Liwu, was eager to play with a plastic ball during his 18th exam. Panda keepers gave the cub the ball to test his coordination and encourage him to play with new objects. Follow Xiao Liwu's progress and antics on the Zoo's Panda Cam! Don't miss the awesome video below.


San Diego Zoo's Baby Giant Panda Naps After Vet Check

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Being a Giant Panda cub can be exhausting, and Xiao Liwu proved that the other morning when he fell asleep during his weekly exam (see it in the video below)! Thankfully the San Diego Zoo's Giant Panda Team was able to get a good look at him before he snoozed.

Only 1,600 Giant Pandas are believed to exist in the wild, and the species is primarily threatened by habitat loss. The San Diego Zoos Giant Pandas are on a research loan from the People's Republic of China. As part of this long-term program, the zoo is also collaborating with the Chinese Academy of Science in studies of behavior, ecology, genetics and conservation of wild Pandas living in the Foping Nature Reserve. San Diego Zoo Global, in conjunction with Chinese Panda experts, continues to work on science-based Panda conservation programs. 

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Photo Credits: ZSSD Copyright 2012 © with Jimi Li at San Diego Zoo.

Veterinarian Tracy Clippinger, DVM, who conducted the exam, saw eight teeth with more ready to break through the gums. She felt his muscles, which are getting stronger, and observed that his crawling has improved; his paws are growing, which will give him more surface area to support his body. His back left paw measured 4.7 inches (12 cm) long. And he's thinning out - the cub weighed 12.5 pounds (5.7Kg) and measured 26.7 inches (68 cm) from nose to tail. 


UPDATE! San Diego Zoo's Panda Cub Gets His Name (and a Few New Teeth)

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If you’ve been following the San Diego Zoo’s Giant Panda cub’s progress on ZooBorns, you’ll know the Zoo follows the Chinese cultural tradition of waiting to name Panda babies until they are at least 100 days old. The cub was named Xiao Liwu, which means "little gift," at a public ceremony held on Nov. 13, 107 days after he was born.

You may also know he has a weekly check up. Yesterday Giant Panda team member Jennifer Becerra carried Xiao Liwu from his den to the exam room where he had his final vaccination. And "little gift" is getting bigger!  He weighed 10.8 pounds and measured 25.5 inches... and the vet saw and felt several teeth coming through in his mouth!

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Photo Credit: Photo 1: Tammy Spratt/San Diego Zoo, Photo 2: Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo

The animal care staff set out a ball, a chew toy and some bamboo on the exam floor so the cub would have different items to explore. Matt Kinney, DVM, noted that while he's crawling better than in previous weeks, they don't feel Xiao Liwu is yet able to navigate the uneven terrain of Panda exhibits. So he’ll continue to practice his crawling and walking skills in an off-exhibit suite of rooms before he and his mother, Bai Yun, are given access to a public exhibit. You can watch Mom and baby in their den online at the Zoo's Panda Cam.

The San Diego Zoo's Giant Pandas are on a research loan from the People's Republic of China. As part of this long-term program, the Zoo is also collaborating with the Chinese Academy of Science in studies of behavior, ecology, genetics and conservation of wild pandas living in the Foping Nature Reserve.

 


San Diego Zoo's Panda Cub is Learning to Walk!

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The San Diego Zoo released a video this week showing its Giant Panda cub learning how to walk! The 11-week-old Panda raised one front paw, followed clumsily by the other, lurched forward, and came to a stop. He was taking baby steps during a Thursday morning veterinary examination -- his ninth so far -- while zookeepers looked on. PK Robbins, DVM, San Diego Zoo senior veterinarian, describes the attempt to walk as "like a toddler holding onto the furniture."

Viewers of Panda Cam, the Zoo's 24-hour live online camera feed, may catch glimpses of the cub learning to walk. The unnamed Panda now weighs 7.2 pounds and is 21.6 inches long.

Just 1,600 giant pandas are believed to exist in the wild, and the species is primarily threatened by habitat loss. San Diego Zoo Global, in conjunction with Chinese panda experts, is working to support science-based conservation of the species. 
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Photo Credit: Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo

The unnamed male cub is the sixth giant panda born at the zoo. His mother, Bai Yun, gave birth to a single cub in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, and now to this cub on July 29. Five of them were conceived through natural mating. Only the first, in 1999, was the result of artificial insemination.  


San Diego Zoo Baby Panda Update!

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The San Diego Zoo's little Panda man is growing up! His eyes and ears are fully open now, so he's ready to take on the world. You can follow his growth in previous stories on ZooBorns.com. You can also peek in on him every day through the Zoo's live panda cam here: www.sandiegozoo.org/pandacam

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Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo

See his 7th check up on the video below. The Giant Panda cub is quite used to being handled and clearly likes his chin scritches. The vets are pleased with his health and growth. He's eating well and now weighs 6.6 pounds (3kg).


UPDATE! Help San Diego Zoo Name This Panda Cub

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The Panda cub at the San Diego Zoo that you first read about on ZooBorns on September 10 started to see the great big world around him. During an exam last Wednesday morning, animal care staff could see the cub's eyes beginning to open. That was right on track for this 45-day old male cub. It will take about another 20 days for the eyes to be fully open, but as you can see in the video below, taken on September 20, he's making progress!  Veterinarians believe he can see but is likely limited to viewing light and shadows.

Animal care staff are pleased with his growth. This exam revealed he now weighs 4.9 pounds (2.26 kilograms) -- nearly a pound more than he weighed during the last check up. His abdominal and chest girth show that he is nursing well from his mother, Bai Yun. But he's a wee bit sleepy during this vet exam... there are lots of baby panda yawns in the video!

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Photo credit: Photo 1 Tammy Spratt, San Diego Zoo Global, Photo 2: Ken Bohn / San Diego Zoo

As of September 17, the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy began taking name suggestions for the cub on its website. The zoo follows the Chinese cultural tradition of naming the Giant Panda after it is 100 days old. Names must be submitted in Chinese pinyin, which is the official system to transcribe Chinese characters into Latin script, and significance of the name must be included to be considered. They are taking submissions until Monday, September 24.