On the Anniversary of Tai Shan’s Departure from the US, He Embarks on his Next Adventure

On the Anniversary of Tai Shan&#8217;s Departure from the US, He Embarks on his Next Adventure / Post by Pandas International<br />
This week marked a very emotional anniversary for US-based Tai Shan fans who bid a teary farewell to the beloved panda on February 4, 2010 when he left his home at the National Zoo in D.C. for China. Like his parents, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, Tai Shan is the property of China. Per the &#8220;lease&#8221; agreement, the Chinese government can require that all US born pandas be sent to China any time after their 2nd birthdays. Tai Shan was given a &#8220;passport&#8221; by Chinese Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong for an extended stay at the National Zoo beyond his 2nd birthday through 2009 and although the zoo asked that Tai Shan be allowed to stay in Washington for another year, it was announced on December 4, 2009 that he would be moved to China early in the new year. He traveled to his new home at the Bifengxia Panda Base in Ya&#8217;an Sichuan on the same flight as Mei Lan from Zoo Atlanta.<br />
Although it was difficult for Tai Shan fans to say goodbye, the process of returning pandas to China is intricately tied to conservation efforts for this endangered species. It is essential that new DNA be continually introduced into captive breeding programs to ensure the diversity of the gene pool. If the captive breeding population is too small, inbreeding will likely occur due to the reduced gene pool which can often lead to immunity issues and genetic abnormalities. The Giant Panda breeding programs have seen increased successes in recent years and keeping strong genetic diversity within the captive population is essential for continued success. <br />
To bring an uplifting note to an anniversary that many still experience with sadness - Pandas International received notification this week from Bifengxia that Tai Shan has been moved to &#8220;Lovers Lane&#8221; in preparation for the breeding season. This will be his first season to participate, so we all have our fingers crossed.

Last week marked a very emotional anniversary for US-based Tai Shan fans who bid a teary farewell to the beloved panda on February 4, 2010 when he left his home at the National Zoo in D.C. for China. Like his parents, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, Tai Shan is the property of China. Per the “lease” agreement, the Chinese government can require that all US born pandas be sent to China any time after their 2nd birthdays. Tai Shan was given a “passport” by Chinese Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong for an extended stay at the National Zoo beyond his 2nd birthday through 2009 and although the zoo asked that Tai Shan be allowed to stay in Washington for another year, it was announced on December 4, 2009 that he would be moved to China early in the new year. He traveled to his new home at the Bifengxia Panda Base in Ya’an Sichuan on the same flight as Mei Lan from Zoo Atlanta.

Although it was difficult for Tai Shan fans to say goodbye, the process of returning pandas to China is intricately tied to conservation efforts for this endangered species. It is essential that new DNA be continually introduced into captive breeding programs to ensure the diversity of the gene pool. If the captive breeding population is too small, inbreeding will likely occur due to the reduced gene pool which can often lead to immunity issues and genetic abnormalities. The Giant Panda breeding programs have seen increased successes in recent years and keeping strong genetic diversity within the captive population is essential for continued success.

To bring an uplifting note to an anniversary that many still experience with sadness – Pandas International received notification this week from Bifengxia that Tai Shan has been moved to “Lovers Lane” in preparation for the breeding season. This will be his first season to participate, so we all have our fingers crossed.

For the Love of Tai Shan – and a Passion for All Giant Pandas

Post by Karen Wille – dedicated Volunteer with Pandas International

From the night Tai was born, and he came flying out head first into a wall, I just knew he was going to be a very special panda boy and he is.  At seven years old he continues to   be a Rock Star Panda, an International Ambassador for all Giant Pandas, and he is adored and loved by millions all over the world.  It all started on 9 July 2005 when Mei Xiang gave birth to Tai Shan at the Washington National Zoo.  Mama Mei was a wonderfully patient and caring Mom who taught Tai everything he needed to know to grow up to be a brilliant, strong, brave and handsome young panda boy.  And while Mei was teaching Tai, Tai was teaching all of us, his loving and caring faithful fans.  Through Tai, we came together as a group forming lasting friendships and also a love for Giant Pandas (especially Tai Shan) that continues to grow in size and strength year after year.  We have learned how to help support the efforts to conserve and preserve Giant Pandas both here and in China and there are many that give generously from their hearts   And Tai, through the years, has continued to teach us about the importance of being passionate, loving life, always being curious and to never lose your sense of wonder.  And most importantly, Tai has taught us to always care about everyone – human and animal – and to help others when they are in need.  And it’s by looking into his beautiful, dark, sparkling eyes that you learn from Tai – his deep, soulful eyes that are at once wise beyond their years and still full of childlike innocence.

It’s no wonder that I fell in love with Tai from the moment he was born and just love him more each day.  He has brought me joy when I didn’t believe there was any left and comfort when it seemed that there was no consolation.  During the years that Tai lived at the National Zoo, I spent hours and hours with him every week, watching him, talking to him, cheering him on and even just watching him while he slept.  And while after he left to live in China I was very sad, I decided that since he couldn’t come to me that I would go to him so I’ve been to visit him 3 times now.  And each visit has been better than the last.  I love Tai Shan with all my heart and through him I have developed a passion for Giant Pandas – to try and help all the efforts to conserve and preserve these magnificent bears.  Please join me and Tai and all the others that are already helping to save the Giant Pandas.

Tai Shan’s New Home

We know that many of you watch the live Panda Cams on Explore.org and are sure by now that you’ve noticed that Tai Shan is no longer in his enclosure.  Tai has actually been moved to a new enclosure and An An is now in Tai’s former enclosure and featured on the Panda Cam.

Tai Shan was moved on 18 September 2012 to a much more peaceful and quiet enclosure where he is essentially separated from the various forms of “tourist interaction” that he has been experiencing.  Tai’s new, more secluded “retreat” is a much better environment for him and he already seems more relaxed and at home.

Tai’s new enclosure is very peaceful and is basically closed off to tourist traffic. Visitors can still view Tai Shan from a sidewalk winding around behind his yard, but it if from quite a distance.  He has a very nice outdoor patio and a large yard filled with trees and plenty of places to explore.  We love knowing that Tai is now living in a place where he will be much more relaxed and happy.

Regarding the Tai Explore Cam, since the move just occurred, the details of how and when the cam will be moved are still being discussed.  We will let you know as soon as we hear anything.  Also, please be aware that, due to major road construction, some damage to underground fiber lines caused problems for BFX power supplies resulting in their becoming unstable.  To avoid damaging the power supplies, the other cameras were turned off until the backup battery system is up and running, hopefully by the end of September.

Tai Shan’s New Home

We know that many of you watch the live Panda Cams on Explore.org and are sure by now that you’ve noticed that Tai Shan is no longer in his enclosure.  Tai has actually been moved to a new enclosure and An An is now in Tai’s former enclosure and featured on the Panda Cam.

Tai Shan was moved on 18 September 2012 to a much more peaceful and quiet enclosure where he is essentially separated from the various forms of “tourist interaction” that he has been experiencing.  Tai’s new, more secluded “retreat” is a much better environment for him and he already seems more relaxed and at home.

Tai’s new enclosure is very peaceful and is basically closed off to tourist traffic. Visitors can still view Tai Shan from a sidewalk winding around behind his yard, but it if from quite a distance.  He has a very nice outdoor patio and a large yard filled with trees and plenty of places to explore.  We love knowing that Tai is now living in a place where he will be much more relaxed and happy.

Regarding the Tai Explore Cam, since the move just occurred, the details of how and when the cam will be moved are still being discussed.  We will let you know as soon as we hear anything.  Also, please be aware that, due to major road construction, some damage to underground fiber lines caused problems for BFX power supplies resulting in their becoming unstable.  To avoid damaging the power supplies, the other cameras were turned off until the backup battery system is up and running, hopefully by the end of September.

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UPDATE:  We’ve just learned that cameras 1 and 4 are still live!  They may be intermittent at times – but this is great news for those of us addicted to watching the pandas play!