Celebrating Giant Pandas at the San Diego Zoo

Who can resist a Panda Cub? Here’s the latest press release* from one of our favorite places to visit as a family, the San Diego Zoo.

The giant panda team at the San Diego Zoo got their first close look at the new cub last night. At approximately 9 p.m. on July 30, video taken from the den shows panda mother Bai Yun leaving the cub in the den for the first time as she goes to get a drink of water. While female pandas generally fast for several days after the birth of a cub, it is not unusual for them to need water a day or two postpartum.

The giant panda team, composed of zookeepers, veterinarians, nutritionists, scientists and others, is pleased to see that Bai Yun is looking after her own needs, as it is critical to her success in rearing this cub past the first few crucial days of life.

Staff monitoring the camera was able to zoom in on the hairless cub for a closer look before Bai Yun returned to the den and scooped up and cradled her newborn.”

The mother and the cub will remain off exhibit for four to five months before appearing in a public exhibit. During the denning period, the only way to see the panda cub and mother will be through the San Diego Zoo’s live Panda Cam, available at www.sandiegozoo.org/pandacam.

It will be a couple weeks before the cub develops its iconic black-and-white markings. The sex of the cub will not be known until animal care staff have a chance to examine the cub, which is expected to happen in approximately two months.

Giant pandas are on loan to the San Diego Zoo from the People’s Republic of China to study this endangered species. As part of this long-term program, the San Diego Zoo is collaborating with the Chinese Academy of Science in studies of behavior, ecology, genetics and conservation of wild pandas living in the Foping Nature Reserve.

Only 1,600 giant pandas are believed to exist. The species has been challenged by low reproduction rates, bamboo shortages, habitat destruction, and hunting. The San Diego Zoo, in conjunction with Chinese panda experts, is working to conquer these challenges.

And here’s more reason for the San Diego Zoo to celebrate. Giant Panda Yun Zi is celebrating its third Birthday. To celebrate, animal care staff has a long weekend of festivities planned for the birthday boy.

Photo courtesy of the San Diego Zoo. Yun Zi received a two-tiered ice cake topped with “panda cupcakes” made from yams and ground herbivore biscuits, which are part of his usual diet. The cake’s designer included a “3” made out of ice on the first tier and “Yun Zi” spelled out in bamboo leaves on the second tier.

This weekend, guests at the San Diego Zoo can also help support panda conservation by stopping by the “adopt-a-animal” booth set up near Panda Trek. Panda adoptions start at $15 and include a panda certificate of adoption, fact sheet, photo, and a panda plush! It’s a great deal and all the proceeds will go towards our conservation projects as well as provide toys and treats for all our critters.

One thought on “Celebrating Giant Pandas at the San Diego Zoo

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