Hug My Baby has become a must do event ever since we joined the program 5 years ago. It’s the opportunity to make acquaintances with new contacts and catch up with old friends. This year was no different. The Panda Club Staff bent over backwards to make everyone comfortable and happy. They worked hard to make this event happen. Thank you, Panda Club! You did a marvelous job! This year we were not given the itinerary in advance, so everything was a surprise. We all made the best of the short time we spent at the Bifengxia Base…rain and all. We were particularly grateful to Jason who took a group of us to the new breeding center to visit Lin Ping, one of our adoptees. Jason let us take our time. Lin Ping is doing well and what a first-rate mother she has become! There are so many mothers and their babies at this center. It is a truly magical sight! Next stopover was on the other side of the base to see Jinke, another adoptee of ours. Jason once again obliged and we had ample time to see him. It was nice to look into his powerful eyes again. This visit was short but sweet. The rest of the time was spent at the nursery, New Leopard Mountain, and White Bear Grounds. The time at Bifengxia was brief but all of us managed to see what we wanted. There are some new changes at the base. I was told western toilets are now available and Old Leopard Mountain is closed for renovation. Other events such as taking pictures with Shen Bin’s cub, cleaning a panda enclosure, and hand feeding the mid-morning treat to Mei Sheng,(the San Diego born panda), were held at the Dujiangyan Base. The poignant part of the trip was visiting the former enclosure of Bai Xue, our adopted panda who passed away in June. Although she is no longer living, we deeply felt her presence. The side trip to the Sichuan Cuisine Museum was fantastic! After entering, we saw the antiquities with a local guide, enjoyed [...]
What we thought was a one time donation on Mia's second birthday to help a family member in need, has become a birthday tradition for Mia. For the eighth year in a row, Mia Zaretsky has been donating to those in need in lieu of birthday gifts. While we helped to choose the organizations where Mia would donate when she was two, three, and four, Mia has officially taken her birthday donation tradition into her own hands. After learning about the seven continents in third grade, Mia saw the worldwide need for help and decided she could make a difference. With the help of her family, friends, and community at Beth El, JCC camps, and Woodcrest Elementary School, Mia has officially made an international difference and has taken her collections worldwide. Her first seven years, Mia donated to several organizations in North America including JAFCO, local animal shelters, Vietnam Vets, and CHOP to name a few. Once learning she could help around the world, Mia took matters into her own hands. Last year in lieu of birthday gifts, Mia decided it was her year to help Africa. She collected close to $900 which was donated to the Africa Yoga project to help build a much needed orphanage in Africa. This year, Mia decided Asia's pandas could use her help. She typed up information about the foundation and passed out mason jars for friends and family. Mia collected $1150.19 for the Pennies for Pandas organization in Asia. Mia raised enough money to adopt a panda in need for one year and track what her donated money will be used for in aiding this panda. Mia's hope is to help all seven continents over the next few years. She has already begun researching how she can help in Australia for next year. Mia's passion, drive, and desire to help those in need is admirable and respectful. Not your average 10 year old! Thank you to Mia for your dedication to these amazing birthday projects. We are amazed at what you have accomplished every year and very proud of the amazing dedication you have [...]
The National Zoo sponsored a trip to China in September 2008 and I was fortunate enough to go on it. Initially we weren’t sure that we would even be able to see pandas on the trip because of the devastating Wenchuan earthquake that struck in May 2008, but we did. We were one of the first groups of tourists who visited the Sichuan area and we spent an awesome day in Bifenxgia. One of the highlights was being able to spend time in the panda kindergarten. I decided to stay near one panda (although there were several to play with) and afterwards I asked the keeper to write down her name for me, Xin Nier. This is a photo of us in the panda kindergarten as well as a photo of her after she ate – a bit messy, I’d say. When I got back to the states, I realized that I could “adopt” her through Pandas International and have been renewing the shared adoption since that time. It is my special Christmas present to myself. I was able to go back to Bifengxia in 2010 on a trip sponsored by Pandas International – this time it was to volunteer with the pandas at Bifengxia. I asked the folks at the Wolong Panda club office if there was any way that I could volunteer to clean and feed Xin Nier, or at least spend time with her. Her keepers said that was fine so I was thrilled to spend the day with her (and her roommates). I wanted to spend as much time as I could watching her and I did that in my spare time on the third day. I just hung out and watched her and her roommates interact and of course, eat bamboo. I have to laugh because every update that I’ve received has had comments on how much she likes to eat – that didn’t change at all. Someday I hope to go back to see her again, but until then I excitedly keep an eye out for photos and updates on how she is doing.
Thank you to our friends at CCRCGP for the fabulous photos and summary of the 10th Annual Hug my Baby event. “Hug my Baby” is an annual event sponsored by The China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP) and the Wolong Panda Club to thank adopters for their support of the Giant Panda centers.
We are always so excited when we find out the names of the previous years cubs - this year was no exception! So, here they are: Mother Date of Birth Gender Name of Cub Meaning Hai Zi June 22, 2013 Female Xin Xin 鑫鑫 a lot of gold, prosperous Hai Zi June 22, 2013 Female Miao Miao 淼淼 vast water Cao Cao July 6, 2013 Female Hua Jiao 华娇 tender, pretty and lovely girl of China Cao Cao July 6, 2013 Male Hua Hu 华虎 Tiger of China Xi Xi July 10, 2013 Male Hua Bao 华豹 Leopard of China Xin Nier July 13, 2013 Female Hua Ni 华妮 Little girl of China Hua Mei July 18, 2013 Male Hua Rong 华荣 Honor of China Xi Mei July 24, 2014 Female Xi Le 喜乐 Happy and happy Zhuang Mei August 5, 2013 Male Xing Ya 星雅 *Star Ya Zhuang Mei August 5, 2013 Female Xing An 星安 *Star An Gong Zhu August 11, 2013 Female Wu Wen 武雯 Flower shape cloud Shui Xiu August 12, 2013 Male Hua Yang 华阳 Sun of China Ye Ye August 14, 2013 Female Hua Yan 华妍 Beauty of China Feng Yi August 18, 2013 Male Gong Gong 贡贡 tribute, present, gift Na Na August 27, 2013 Male Shun Shun 舜舜 name of an ancient empera Ying Ying August 29, 2013 Male Sen Sen 森森 Forest Ge Ge September 2, 2013 Female Hua Li 华丽 good looking girl of China * Ya and An together is Ya’an, name of the city Cubs in blue have been lifetime adopted. All others are available for adoption. To learn more about adopting a panda visit our ADOPTION PAGE.
Mei Ling ( 美龄), whose name means Beautiful Soul, was born at Wolong on September 1, 2004. He is the youngest of the first set of twins born to Hua Mei (whose mother is Bai Yun at the San Diego Zoo). Mei Ling’s twin (originally named Hua Ling) is Tuan Tuan – new father to Yuan Zai at the Taipei Zoo in Taiwan. Mei Ling has traveled a lot during his first 10 years but is now happily in residence at Dujiangyan where he just happens to live across from his uncle, Yun Zi.
Yun Zi (simplified Chinese: 云子; traditional Chinese: 雲子), whose name means “Son of Cloud”, was born at the San Diego Zoo on August 5, 2009. He is the fifth cub born to mom Bai Yun and the fourth to father Gao Gao. Yun Zi has one half-sister, Hua Mei, through Bai Yun. He also has two full brothers, Mei Sheng and Xiao Liwu, and two full sisters, Su Lin and Zhen Zhen. Like his full siblings, he was conceived via natural mating. Like most pandas, Yun Zi was not named until he was 100 days old. His was selected from a list of over 6,300 names submitted by his fans. He received his official name on November 17, 2009 at 104 days of age. He made his public debut on January 7, 2010, at 155 days of age.
When we were in China in November, we were fortunate to meet a number of people who have adopted pandas through PI. Among the group were those who had JUST adopted Lin Bing, the beloved panda born in Thailand’s Chiang Mai Zoo. Lin Bing was returned to China earlier this year to find a mate during the next breeding season who, it is planned, will return to Thailand with her. We were not certain, upon departing for China, whether Lin Bin was still in quarantine at Bifengxia but were excited to find out (as were her adoptors) that she was, indeed, in her new enclosure and visible to the public.
One of our first stops on our initial tour of the Bifengxia Panda Base in November was the New Breeding Center. Visiting this area of the base was a distinct highlight since we were able to see the moms with their cubs . I think we can all agree that there is always something very touching about seeing a mom (of any species) caring for her baby. That maternal bond is so special. As we toured the New Breeding Center, we were fortunate to see five moms with cubs (one with TWO cubs, but I'm jumping ahead). What we didn't realize during that first walk through, however, was that what we were seeing was even more special than we first thought! The New Breeding Center is an area of the Panda Base set apart from the other areas with the primary purpose of breeding pandas and rearing cubs. Breeding at BFX is strategically planned to ensure that the gene pool of the giant panda remains diversified and strong. There are a number of pandas at the breeding center currently, five of which are rearing cubs. While Na Na and Ge Ge (above with cub) were happily caring for their cubs (each gave birth to a single cub this year), we would soon find out that something more was happening with the other three moms. Chet's Discovery On our second day at Bifengxia, we met up with Chet Chin, one of PI's adoptors, supporters, and a long time friend. Chet had arrived early for the Hug My Baby event so that she could share some extra time with her adopted panda, Feng Yi, and her 2013 cub (who Chet has also adopted). After spending a good portion of the day photographing Feng Yi and "her" cub, Chet was quite shocked to learn from one of the senior staff that the cub with Feng Yi was, in fact, not hers! Thanks to Chet's diligent follow-up with keepers and staff, we were able to sort through the confusion and get to the root of not only a beautiful story, but also a new [...]
While in China for the Hug My Baby event in November, Chet Chin happened to run into a Malaysian reporter/photographer team at Bifengxia. The team was following the Malaysian keepers as they work with Chinese keepers to prepare for the transfer of two pandas, Feng Yi and Fu Wa, to Malaysia in the new year. Imagine their surprise when they learned that Chet, who is from Malaysia, was the adopted mother of Feng Yi. When they asked for an interview, Chet obliged.