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Author Topic: Atlanta Zoo Pandas  (Read 87652 times)
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Kris G.
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« on: 02-Sep-09, 07:56:28 pm »

   happybday
   
     
Monday, August 31
For those that did not know, yesterday was Xi Lan’s first birthday. For the special occasion he was provided with a multilayer colorful ice cake (with sweet potato frozen inside) and papier-mâché balloons. We gave him about 10 minutes alone with his treats before we let Lun Lun in and he used his time wisely. He climbed on the cake and tried to eat parts of it and really examined it from every angle.  Then he approached his balloons with caution from the climbing structure. But, once he reached them, he had no fear and inspected each one carefully. He then decided he would take a short nap. But, as soon as Lun Lun was let in, he decided to go back after his goodies. Then, in an effort to protect his cake from Lun Lun, he carried each layer of his cake one piece at a time up the climbing structure, chewed on it for a bit, dropped it, and went back for the next layer. After all the adventures, he slept for the rest of the day!

Happy Birthday Xi Lan!   


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« Reply #1 on: 02-Sep-09, 08:00:00 pm »

   happybday
   
     
Monday, August 31
For those that did not know, yesterday was Xi Lan’s first birthday. For the special occasion he was provided with a multilayer colorful ice cake (with sweet potato frozen inside) and papier-mâché balloons. We gave him about 10 minutes alone with his treats before we let Lun Lun in and he used his time wisely. He climbed on the cake and tried to eat parts of it and really examined it from every angle.  Then he approached his balloons with caution from the climbing structure. But, once he reached them, he had no fear and inspected each one carefully. He then decided he would take a short nap. But, as soon as Lun Lun was let in, he decided to go back after his goodies. Then, in an effort to protect his cake from Lun Lun, he carried each layer of his cake one piece at a time up the climbing structure, chewed on it for a bit, dropped it, and went back for the next layer. After all the adventures, he slept for the rest of the day!

Happy Birthday Xi Lan!   




Wow!  I can't believe it's a year already!  Remember the night he got so sick?  I know a lot of us were watching when it happened-seemed like a century until they let us know he would be OK.  And look at him now!  wub2
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Kris G.
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« Reply #2 on: 02-Sep-09, 10:59:51 pm »

I know, Ei.  The year has gone by so quickly and I do remember when he was taken to the nursery and we all worried about him.  I watch him every day and love reading about all his adventures.  They recently posted this about his sister, Mei Lan, who will be 3 in Sept.:

The year after the birth of a giant panda cub is a quieter year for our department. We don’t have the time pressure of a 24-48 hour fertile period to contend with and the long hours, anticipation, hope and worry that come with waiting for a birth and monitoring mother and cub during the critical weeks after. The year after a birth we are able to relax a little and enjoy watching the new cub grow and learn. We have been relishing this time with Xi Lan just as we did with Mei Lan. All too soon a cub grows up, becomes independent from its mother, and is ready to begin the adult portion of its life. That is the case for Mei Lan.

Mei Lan will be three years old on September 6. Those years have passed very quickly for us. Next spring she will very likely experience her first estrous cycle, which means she is officially an adult. She will be ready to mate and hopefully have cubs of her own. To do this, she needs to move to a new home where there are potential mates available for her. And so, we have begun preparations to send her to the birthplace of her parents, the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Mei Lan’s departure for China will be bittersweet for us. She is a member of our family, a favorite child. Sending her so far away will be difficult and we will miss her terribly. But we know it is the right thing for Mei Lan. She needs to have the opportunity to have a family of her own and we know she is going to a beautiful place where she will be loved and receive excellent care. It was bittersweet for the Chengdu Research Base staff to send Yang Yang and Lun Lun to us. Now the Research Base staff is looking forward to welcoming Yang Yang and Lun Lun’s daughter.

The date for Mei Lan’s departure has not been set, yet. We are planning for early 2010, so that she will be at the Research Base before her first estrous cycle. The Research Base staff probably will not try to breed her in 2010, but it will be a good learning experience for her to be around potential mates for her first cycle. We will update you periodically on plans and preparations for Mei Lan’s departure. We hope that you will understand that we too are sad about her leaving. We also hope that you will join us in celebrating her future at her new home.


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Kris G.
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« Reply #3 on: 28-Jan-10, 09:49:08 am »

Panda Cub Updates:


We'll miss our "Atlanta Beauty"

Wednesday, January 20
If you've been keeping up with this blog for the past few months, you know that our beloved Mei Lan will be leaving Zoo Atlanta soon. Yesterday we received the crate that Mei Lan will be traveling in to China. Now we will start training her to enter the crate and to relax while she is inside it. I doubt this will take long; Mei Lan is tolerant of the squeeze cage where she participates in ultrasound training and the crate is similar. She is very much like her mother when training - as long as she gets rewarded with food, she will pretty much do anything we ask!
Heather Baker Roberts
Carnivore Keeper II

Friday, January 22
Mei Lan has discovered the wonders of ultrasound gel! As some of you may know (or have read in previous updates), Lun Lun is an avid fan of it, but Monday was the first time that Mei Lan ever reacted to it. We had used the gel on several different occasions with her when training her for ultrasound behavior, but previously there was no reaction from her. For whatever reason when she smelled it on Monday she decided to rub it all over her body and self-anoint with it. This is what Lun Lun likes to do, and we just have to wait for her to calm down, and then ask her to get into the proper position again. After that initial reaction, she normally will not break from the session again. As we are getting closer to the time that Mei Lan will be heading to her mother-land, we are trying to increase the length of time that she will participate in a session. So far so good, as each session seems to last a little bit longer.
Joseph T. Svoke
Carnivore Keeper III

Monday, January 25
Earlier this month Mei Lan received her pre-shipment physical for her trip to China. When animals are sent to other institutions, we give them a good once-over to make sure they are healthy. During Mei Lan’s physical she was checked by one of our veterinarians and had blood collected, an ultrasound preformed, and her teeth checked by a dentist.The keepers were also able to collect her body measurements while she was under anesthesia. The measurements are as follows: tip of nose to end of tail, 178 cm (70 in); chest girth, 105 cm (41 in); neck girth, 71 cm (28 in); belly girth, 110.5 cm (43.5 in). Mei Lan’s most current weight is 92 kg (yep, that’s 202 pounds!).

The vets gave her a clean bill of health and she is cleared to prepare for her journey to China.
Kate Roca
Carnivore Keeper II

Wednesday, January 27
Hello all! It’s been a while since I’ve written an update, but I’ve been in pandas about once a week for quite some time now. I had to take a little hiatus from pandas because of some fun things going on in the meat-eating side of carnivores, but I’m back now, and boy is our big guy growing fast (as you all know)! He has really come into his own as a little man. I’m amazed all the time at how independent and sure of himself he has become. I tell him every time I close up for the day how much I appreciate his skill and eagerness to shift in and eat his dinner. Mei Lan, of course, is the sweetheart that continues to brighten up everyone’s day. The last two times that I have worked with her she has been as silly as ever, wanting to play and run back and forth in the tunnel while I squealed and baby talked, like all female keepers secretly (and some not so secretly) do. She actually seems to really enjoy the excited sounds of the keepers, and the more we get excited, the more she jumps up and somersaults and, at one point, tried to do a head stand! She is a completely ridiculous little lady and we will all miss her greatly. I wonder if they talk “panda” talk in China ...
Jennifer Brink
Carnivore Keeper II

« Last Edit: 30-Jan-10, 02:58:54 pm by Kris G. » Logged

valhalla
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« Reply #4 on: 28-Jan-10, 01:01:24 pm »

National Zoo, DC is leaving, too, as per the contract agreement.
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jeanne
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« Reply #5 on: 28-Jan-10, 03:12:04 pm »

Sad in many ways
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Kris G.
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« Reply #6 on: 30-Jan-10, 03:01:14 pm »

Panda Cub Updates

Friday, January 29
It's finally official. Mei Lan, our 3-year-old female panda, will soon be on her way to China. It was announced yesterday that she will be traveling to China compliments of FedEx Express.  Her departure date has been set for Thursday, February 4th.  She will not, however, be undertaking this journey alone.  We have a Zoo Atlanta keeper going with her and she will also be accompanied by Tai Shan, the National Zoo's 4-year-old male. They both get to fly first class on a brand new Boeing 777, which will be decorated with appropriate panda markings.  We are all going to miss our Atlanta Beauty, but we are excited that she will be moving on to big things in Chengdu, where she will become part of the giant panda breeding program at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.

In other panda news, the vet staff and I were able to get a good look at Xi Lan's teeth today. It appears that he is on a roll, and has several baby teeth that are about ready to come out. Aside from that, he appears to be in tip top shape. His weight this morning was 34.6 kg. It's hard to believe that he is over 75 lbs, but I guess they can't stay little forever.

Be sure to join us tomorrow, Saturday, January 30, for Mei Lan’s Farewell Celebration!
Kenn Harwood
Lead Keeper of Carnivores
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Kris G.
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« Reply #7 on: 08-Feb-10, 04:43:38 pm »

Special Mei Lan Update
Monday, February 8
We received good news from Heather Roberts today that Mei Lan is starting to settle into her new home. The first couple of days, Mei Lan did not eat much and she was easily startled by sounds around her. Sunday and Monday she started to eat more and she drank well. Heather reported that Mei Lan is also calmer and spending more time resting. These are very good signs and we expect that Mei Lan will continue to become more and more comfortable in her new surroundings.

I am sure that Mei Lan’s fans are worried about her and that it’s difficult to read that she is not entirely at ease in her new home. Of course, we would all have liked to see Mei Lan adjust immediately to her new home as though nothing had changed. But that would not be a normal reaction and we did not expect her to adjust immediately.

Traveling to China is a big change. It’s a long journey, there is a 12 hour time change, the food is different, the language is different, the sights and smells are different. It takes a person at least a few days to adjust to that. So, we should expect it to take Mei Lan some time to adjust as well. Most people prefer to travel with a friend, rather than alone, because all those changes can be stressful and it’s comforting to have a friend along. We sent Heather with Mei Lan to be her friend and to help her with the changes. We also sent one of our veterinarians, Dr. Sam Rivera, to Chengdu to make sure Mei Lan remains healthy. She is healthy and she will adjust, but it’s going to take a little time.
Rebecca Snyder, PhD
Curator of Mammals
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« Reply #8 on: 08-Feb-10, 07:12:05 pm »

Mei Lan was cowered in her cage and refusing to eat, poor sweet girl.  So glad she is adjusting to this.  There is also a website featuring her prospective mates!  I'll look for it.
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Kris G.
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« Reply #9 on: 09-Feb-10, 03:05:47 pm »

Tuesday, February 9
Heather says that Mei Lan is a little calmer today. She seems to be growing more accustomed to the sounds around her and is reacting less. She shifted into the adjacent enclosure today for cleaning while Heather was there and Heather was pleased to see that all of Mei Lan’s feces were normal. It might sound like a strange thing to note and be happy about, but stool quality provides information about how an animal is eating and about its health. Normal, well formed stools are a good thing!

Heather said she also had a good conversation with Mei Lan’s new keeper, Duan Dong Qun, through a translator. Ms. Duan had lots of questions about Mei Lan: her personality, her favorite foods, how to train her, and communicate with her. Heather said she couldn’t ask for a better person to care for Mei Lan. Ms. Duan is being very sensitive to Mei Lan and is doing everything she can to make her comfortable. She told Heather that she is really looking forward to building a good relationship with Mei Lan. We are all happy that Mei Lan is in such good hands.   
Rebecca Snyder, PhD
Curator of Mammals
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« Reply #10 on: 10-Feb-10, 09:44:36 pm »

Chengdu, China, February 11, 2010: Mei Lan – China’s recently returned panda diplomat to Atlanta – has been announced as an Earth Hour Global Ambassador, launching the countdown to Earth Hour 2010.

At 8.30pm on Saturday 27 March, millions of people across all continents will switch off their lights for one hour – Earth Hour – to show the world what can be done to resolve the dilemma of global warming.

Mei Lan takes up her first new diplomatic duty launching Earth Hour in the her hometown of Chengdu, the first city in China to commit its support to Earth Hour 2010. The recognized symbol of WWF, giant pandas have lived in Chengdu for more than 8 million years.

“As a citizen of Chengdu, Mei Lan will be standing with 13 million residents of the city in taking part in Earth Hour,” said Mr. Ye Lang, spokesperson of the Chengdu municipal government.

“Chengdu is committed to developing a low-carbon economy and building a world-class garden city of tomorrow to create harmony between man and nature. This is highly in line with Earth Hour’s overall goal.”

The people of Chengdu will join citizens from all over the world in more than 70 countries that have already signed up to the ‘lights out’ event, including four nations from four separate continents – Paraguay, Mongolia, Madagascar and Czech Republic – who will take part in Earth Hour for the very first time.

Earth Hour continues to gather momentum as the people of the world take it upon themselves to show that a resolution to the threat of global warming is possible through collective action.  New countries, cities, towns and municipalities are signing up daily to take action by turning their lights out on 27 March, 2010.

Earth Hour Co-Founder and Executive Director, Andy Ridley, said it is clear from the huge interest and commitment to Earth Hour from all over the world that the planet’s population is determined to lead the way for a climate resolution.

“Earth Hour 2010 is proof of the global community’s desire to adopt low-carbon lifestyle habits and show some leadership to our world leaders in addressing the issue of global warming,” he said.

“Never has there been a more important time or better opportunity for the people of the world to stand up and take the matter of climate change into their own hands.  Earth Hour brings together communities, businesses and individuals to show world leaders and, more importantly, show each other, that a resolution to global warming is possible if we work on it together. It’s time to show the world what can be done,” he said.

WWF Director General, Jim Leape said Earth Hour is honored that Chengdu is leading by example in the world’s fastest growing economy by both committing to Earth Hour and gifting the services of Mei Lan for this prestigious position.

“Chengdu is the centerpiece in launching Earth Hour 2010’s massive global call to action for a climate resolution,” Mr Leape said.

Since its inception in Sydney, Australia in 2007, Earth Hour has grown from a one-city event to a sweeping global action, with hundreds of millions of people in over 4,100 cities and towns across 88 countries participating in Earth Hour 2009 in what was the greatest voluntary action the world has ever known. Some of the world’s most iconic landmarks, such as the Pyramids in Egypt, Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, the Acropolis in Athens and even the lights of the Las Vegas strip also went dark.

Mei Lan joins an esteemed alumnus of past and present Earth Hour ambassadors including The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu, Cold Play and Cate Blanchett.  Fans will be able to follow her ambassador role via; www.twitter.com/earthour and www.earthhour.org

So the stage is set for Earth Hour 2010: the greatest show on Earth for action on climate change.
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                Anatole France
Kris G.
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« Reply #11 on: 18-Oct-10, 02:39:34 pm »

Monday, October 18
Today marks the official start of Panda Birth Watch 2010, something that I have been looking forward to since I started at Zoo Atlanta. The major change for birth watch is that there will always be a keeper monitoring Lun Lun 24 hours a day. A more minor change that has occurred in the building are some temporary reconfigurations, such as the kitchen and hallway turning into a nursery for a possible cub. Biscuit and produce diet preparation can now be observed by one panda in the morning since it is in front of his (Yang Yang’s or Xi Lan’s) den. The food is no longer created in a magical unseen place; the bears get to look on curiously when we prepare the morning diets. Our boy bears are extremely well behaved and they do not even beg for food.

Lun Lun has been sleeping the days away in her nest box in her favorite corner of her den. She pushes aside the hay we put down for her and goes straight for the floor. It is really interesting to see the changes that she is going through, mostly the lethargy. I had no idea a panda could sleep for so long! She is still participating in ultrasounds with the vet staff and keepers opportunistically. Stay tuned to see how our wonderful panda mommy of two (come on lucky number three!), adjusts during this period.
Cate Harris
Seasonal Keeper
« Last Edit: 24-Oct-10, 08:28:41 am by Kris G. » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: 18-Oct-10, 03:08:46 pm »

Thanks for posting this, Kris.  I haven't been able to keep up like I usually do.
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Annette
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« Reply #13 on: 18-Oct-10, 03:34:54 pm »

Is there any cam link?
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« Reply #14 on: 18-Oct-10, 04:06:25 pm »

Is there any cam link?

The cam is at http://www.zooatlanta.org/1212/panda_cam but it's only on 10AM-5PM eastern time.  Hopefully they'll extend the hours if a cub is born!
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