San Diego Zoo

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. 


Two Playful Clouded Leopard Cubs Arrive at San Diego Zoo

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Two 14-week-old Clouded Leopard cubs, Riki-san and Haui-san, were spotted pouncing, climbing and using each other as trampolines in the San Diego Zoo's Children’s Zoo nursery. The cubs arrived earlier this week from the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, where a very successful breeding program has helped to increase the population of this critically endangered species. 

Brothers Riki-san and Haui-san will spend 30 days in quarantine, where they are visible to the public daily and have already become guest favorites. After this quarantine period, the cubs will join the Zoo’s Backstage Pass animal ambassador program.

Named for its cloud-like spots, the male Clouded Leopard can weigh up to 50 pounds 22.6 kgs). This cat is found mostly in the Southeast Asian rain forest and is an excellent swimmer and climber. In fact, the Clouded Leopard and the Margay from South America are the only cat species that can climb down a tree head first, thanks to the flexibility of the ankle joints. 

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Photo Credit: ZSSD/San Diego Zoo

Thirteen-pound Riki-san (right) is the larger of the two cats but is also the more timid one. His coat pattern is darker and his rosettes more pronounced. According to zookeepers, Haui-san, at 11.5 pounds, is feisty and quite playful, enticing his bigger brother to wrestle and play a game of chase.


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.


Update! Baby Elephant at San Diego Zoo Gets a Name

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You may have first read about this new baby African Elephant born on August 28 here on ZooBorns. This little female calf at San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park has just been named! She will be called Qinisa, a Siswati word that means to act with energy, act determinedly, fulfill one’s word, or speak the truth. The name is pronounced (!) EEN-EE-seh (! is a tongue pop instead of a q sound).

Her name is very fitting, as Qinisa has developed fastest of the 12 calves born to the herd. At only one week old she was sucking water into her trunk and using it to pick up objects like sticks. Dexterity like that has not been seen at such a young age among the other calves according to Curtis Lehman, San Diego Zoo Safari Park animal care manager. The other calves only exhibited that skill after at least a few weeks of age.

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Qinisa seems to be spending the least amount of time nursing compared to the others, but she is getting more than enough milk from mom Swazi. Qinisa is averaging a weight gain of 2.2 pounds (1 kgm) per day, having gained a total of 40 pounds (18 kilograms) in her first 21 days of life. 

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Photo Credit: Sand Diego Zoo Safari Park

Beside her quick learning curve, keepers have also observed how other elephants interact with her --whenever mom allows it. Big brother Mac is playing nice; then again, he’d better, or Mom would have a word or two with him. The adult females only interact occasionally, since they know to keep their distance from protective Swazi, the herd’s matriarch.

But the zoo’s two young female babysitters, 6-year-old Khosi and 5-year-old Kami, seem to have the most access to the calf and continue to compete for babysitting rights. They stay with the trio of Swazi, Mac, and Qinisa overnight, so Kami has the upper hand to get more time. Swazi seems to now be taking advantage of the two baby-sitters and wanders away from Qinisa when she naps... but not for long. If Qinisa wakes, Swazi quickly returns to her baby.


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

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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: www.sandiegozoo.org/pandacam.

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Photo credit: Ken Bohn / Zoological Society of San Diego 

 


It's a Girl! African Elephant Newborn on Exhibit at San Diego Zoo

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Just hours after her birth on August 28, a baby African Elephant made her public debut at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The female calf was born at 3:39 a.m. to the Safari Park's matriarch, Swazi. The baby was on her feet within a few minutes of birth; her first tentative steps were captured on the video below. The calf was born on exhibit so when the Park opened at 9 a.m., guests were already able to see Swazi and her newborn!

Mom and baby are doing well and spending these first days bonding. They can be seen daily at the Park's elephant habitat or you can watch them live via the ElephantCam on the Park's web site or Safari Park iPhone app. The average gestation period for African Elephants is 649 days -- or 22 months. A newborn elephant normally weighs between 200 to 268 pounds (90-121 kg); this little calf weighed in at 205 pounds (92 kg). 

The Safari Park is now home to 13 elephants - 4 adults and 9 youngsters. The adults were rescued in 2003 from the Kingdom of Swaziland, where they faced being culled. A lack of space and long periods of drought created unsuitable habitat for a large elephant population in the small southern African country. At the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, elephant studies are underway on nutrition, daily walking distance, growth and development and bio-acoustic communication. Since 2004, San Diego Zoo Global has contributed $30,000 yearly to Swaziland's Big Game Parks to fund programs like anti-poaching patrols, improve infrastructure and purchase additional acreage for the Big Game Parks. 

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Photo Credits: Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo