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


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. 


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)


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!


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 You can also peek in on him every day through the Zoo's live panda cam here:

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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


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!

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.

It's a Boy! San Diego's Baby Panda Gets His Third Check-up


Last week, San Diego Zoo examined its five-week-old baby Giant Panda for the third time. Veterinarians determined that the 3.2-pound cub is a boy! He's a bit lighter in weight than mother Bai Yun's previous five cubs, but this baby panda looks healthy with a belly girth of 12 inches, indicating he is eating well. The 13-inch-long cub gained 1 pound from his previous exam a week earlier. San Diego Zoo follows the Chinese cultural tradition of naming Giant Pandas after they are 100 days old. Stay tuned as San Diego Zoo will be announcing details on how the public can help name the new cub. The cub will remain in the den with his mother several months. Watch them live on the zoo's Panda Cam:




Photo credit: Ken Bohn / Zoological Society of San Diego 


San Diego Zoo Conducts First Exam of Giant Panda Cub

Photo credit: Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo's newest Giant Panda cub received its first veterinary exam this morning.  The quick, 3-minute exam allowed staff just enough time to determine that the cub is healthy, thriving and weighs 1.5 pounds. Vets were able to listen to the cub's heart and lungs - which sounded good - but were not able to determine the sex.


The paws of this cub might be tiny now, but they will grow into one of the most interesting paws in the animal kingdom. Giant Pandas have a pseudo thumb, which enhances their ability to gather and eat bamboo. No other species of bear (yes, they are definitively bears thanks to molecular testing!) has this distinctive trait.


This is the sixth Giant Panda born at the San Diego Zoo, the most born at a breeding facility outside of China. All six Giant Panda births have been to mother Bai Yun. The previous cub born at the San Diego Zoo was a male named Yun Zi. Born on Aug. 5, 2009, his name means "son of cloud."

UPDATE! First Snow for Baby Panda


You first read about Fu Hu, the baby panda born at Viennas' Schönbrunn Zoo, in our article back in November of 2010. 

Though born last year, he is experiencing the joy of romping in the first snow of his life because he spent all last winter in his birthing box. He pads through the snow-covered enclosure, climbs up the icy tree trunks and nosily sniffs the blanket of white. Neither he nor his parents, Yang Yang and Long Hui, have any fear of contact with the chilly and damp elements. Pandas live in the foggy and humid mountain forests of Southwest China and are very well adapted to cold and snow.

“Even the sole of their paws is covered in fur. This not only protects them against the cold it also prevents them from slipping on the snow and ice” explains the Zoo’s director, Dagmar Schratter.

Watching the Pandas play in the snow is bound to warm the heart of the Zoo’s visitors.



Photo Credit: Daniel Zupanc

More photos after the jump!

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Three Little Noses Peek into the World: Red Panda Triplets at Red River Zoo

On June 20, three little faces - two male and one female -- were seen in the Chinese Red Panda nesting box at Red River Zoo in Fargo, ND. This is the second time the zoo has had triplet Red Pandas. The mom is Wei Da and the father is Rusty, a male on a breeding loan from the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

At birth, each of the cubs weighed in around 130 grams. Now, at  6 weeks old, the babies weigh just about a pound (4590 gms) and are doing well. Zoo keepers say Wei Da is doing a great job as mom, especially with three cubs to raide all at once!


Photo Credit: Marcy Thompson

Continue reading "Three Little Noses Peek into the World: Red Panda Triplets at Red River Zoo" »

Little Pandas Grow Up So Fast!

Panda Cubs at Madrid Zoo 2

It seems like only yesterday (more specifically, last October) that ZooBorns was announcing the birth of two tiny Giant Panda cubs at Madrid Zoo. Today "Pambassador" Jeroen Jacobs sent us new photos of the troublemaking duo and it appears they have almost outgrown their custom built Panda crib. Between time with mom, feedings with the keepers and rough-housing, cubs "De-De" and "Po" are growing up big and strong. 

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Panda Cubs at Madrid Zoo 1

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Many more pics below the fold

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