Panda Base News

Ice Cakes for All the Pandas at Dujiangyan

The Giant Pandas at Dujiangyan all celebrated their birthdays this summer by being given ice cakes filled with bamboo leaves and shoots, apples, and carrots. These wonderful cakes were donated to the Pandas by the many supporters of Pandas International. Ice is a very rare commodity in China making it much harder to make these wonderful enrichment treats for the Pandas.  The big huge ice blocks the pandas lay on take almost 3 weeks to make and the cakes themselves took over 3 days to make.  We are thankful for the amazing staff at Dujiangyan who took the extra time to make these delicious treats for the Pandas. Pan Pan also got to enjoy in the fun celebrating his 31st birthday. Due to Pan Pan's aging teeth, he was given a bamboo bread cake instead of an ice cake. Qiao Yuan Mei Sheng Ya Mei Xing An Pan Pan's birthday cake Pan Pan Hai Zi

Lin Ping finds Love this Breeding Season

Love was in the air this breeding season for Thailand's returned sweetheart, Lin Ping. Spring is the season of love for Giant Pandas.  The pandas are enjoying the spring sunshine and CCRCGP is in full breeding mode - monitoring the females, setting up "liasons", and performing artificial inseminations when deemed necessary. Unlike last year when her behavior during breeding season stayed consistent with no signs of estrous, this year Lin Ping's behavior seemed a little "abnormal" - she exhibited all of the signs of being ready to mate. On the evening of  March 30, Wu Gang was presented as a potential "love connection" to Lin Ping.  You might say it was love at first sight for the healthy male.  He pursued her fiercely, but being her first mating encounter, Lin Ping was cautious.  Their first attempts to mate the morning of the 31st were unsuccessful (Wu Gang is new at this mating thing too).  Wu Gang was persistent, however, and the couple eventually successfully completed the first natural mating. Given that female pandas are only fertile for about 48 hours, CCRCGP took advantage of Lin Ping's cycle and introduced a second male, Bai Yang, to the enclosure.  The two hit it off immediately and mated successfully four times. However, during one of her mating encounters with Bai Yang, he got a little bit aggressive, as pandas often do in the wild and captivity when mating, and bit Lin Ping on the shoulder.  Keepers immediately treated her and shaved the wound around the bite to prevent any infection. She is doing very well.  This incident reminds us that Giant Pandas are indeed bears and even in captivity they will display their innate wild behavior. To ensure that Lin Ping successfully participated this breeding season, CCRCGP staff also performed an artificial insemination.  Our fingers are crossed that this beauty becomes a mother this year.

Meet the 2013 Panda Cubs by Name

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.

Giant Panda Xue Xue Begins Her Life in the Wild

Giant panda Xue Xue, who was born on  August 15, 2012, was released into the wild at the Liziping Natural Reserve in Shimian, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Tusday Oct. 14, 2014. She became the fourth giant panda to be bred in captivity and released into the wild in China. Like Tao Tao and Zhang Xiang before her (the two pandas released under the current reintroduction protocol), Xue Xue spent two years' training in habitat selection, foraging, and avoiding natural enemies.  Under her mothers guidance, and without human intervention, Xue Xue learned to search for food and water, nest, and avoid predators.  Young pandas in the program are rigorously monitored (via live cameras) to ensure that they are "passing" all of the target requirements. In the past, caretakers wore special panda suits smeared with panda urine and feces when contact was necessary.  Closer to release date, however, to make her wary of poachers, they stopped wearing the suits when giving her injections, transporting her long distances, or other unpleasant activities. It is only those pandas that "pass" all of the testing parameters that are deemed fit for reintroduction.  In Xue Xue's case, not only did she meet and exceed all testing parameters, but she had also fully separated from her mother (which generally happens around the age of 2), showing that she was comfortably independent.  Xue Xue and her mother, Si Xue,  had no contact with each other for several months before she was transferred to Liziping. Both before and after transport, Xue Xue was given full physical examinations to ensure that she was as physically ready for reintroduction as she was behaviorally.  She was placed in a holding area prior to her release for final observation.   On the day of her release, Xue Xue showed some reluctance to leave her transport container initially, a behavior which showed that she has learned to be observant and cautious of changes in her environment.  Her mother taught her well.   Xue Xue's release marks another milestone for the reintroduction program.  As Zhang Hemin, director of the China Conservation and Research Center for [...]

Qiang Qiang and I – A Keeper’s Story – Part 4 of 4

Qiang Qiang and I Written by Qiang Zhou, CCRCGP Translated by Pat Weiyi Zhang The saddest moment is when separate After 6 months of intensive care, Qiang Qiang had recovered. His weight increased to 95 kgs. His fur was bright and shining. He was swift and was in good spirits. Except for the amputated hind limbs, he was no different from a normal panda. Once healed, he was transferred to the Bifengxia Panda Base of CCRCGP and I was no longer his keeper. It’s  been years since we separated. I’ve kept him in my heart always, as if he was my child. As long as he is well, it is a sunny day. Reunion with Qiang Qiang  In June, 2012, the Dujiangyan Panda Disease Control Center of CCRCGP was formally established. It is located at the foot of the Qingcheng Mountain, the cradle of Daoism, in a quiet valley. Here the mountain peaks are very beautiful, the environment is nice, the air is clear and the climate is comfortable. When the first group of pandas was transferred to the center, Qiang Qiang was one of them. Due to the increased workload, I was sent to work at the new center. When I saw Qiang Qiang again, I was so happy. He was already 27 years old, which is considered senior age for a giant panda. After many years of separation, he was healthy and in good spirits.  I felt very gratified. If it were not for the missing hind limbs, I would never have connected him to the panda who was fighting with death a few years ago. In that moment, I felt deep respect: a respect for nature, respect for its fairness, respect for strength, respect for the panda, respect for his life that could not be put down, respect for people, respect for those people like me who had devoted their youth to protecting the giant pandas.    

Qiang Qiang and I – A Keeper’s Story – Part 3 of 4

Qiang Qiang and I Written by Qiang Zhou, CCRCGP Translated by Pat Weiyi Zhang Intensive care At 12:30 am, Aug. 4 all of the lights were still on in the offices at the center. The leaders of the center were having emergency meeting, and after detailed discussion, they had come up with an initial recovery plan for Qiang Qiang and Ms. Yanwu Lai and I were appointed as primary keepers.  The Animal Management Department made a detailed feeding plan.  The Animal Hospital made medical treatment plan for Qiang Qiang’s recovery including the amount of medicine to feed Qiang Qiang, which we had to strictly follow. The nutritionists made a special formula of food and Qiang Qiang was also to be given fresh bamboo, apples, carrots, nutritious liquid, bamboo shoots and Wowotou, or panda bread. The Science and Research Department collected fecal, urine, and blood samples for tests.  We had to record Qiang Qiang’s status every 30 minutes. The meeting finished at about 2am. Gradually, keepers and management began to leave after seeing Qiang Qiang finish the nutritious liquid, eat the bamboo shoots, and fall into a peaceful sleep. I was on duty that entire first night. I sat quietly alone in the enclosure, turned on an electric stove (to warm Qiang Qiang), and carefully observed his every movement.   Even when he was asleep and motionless, I would note in my journal: Qiang Qiang was sleeping sweetly. Around 4pm, Qiang Qiang woke up. I thought he was hungry and fed him fresh bamboo shoots and bamboo leaves. Qiang Qiang ate some and slept again until sunrise.

Qiang Qiang and I – A Keeper’s Story – Part 2 of 4

Qiang Qiang and I Written by Qiang Zhou, CCRCGP Translated by Pat Weiyi Zhang Miracle of life At 9:40 pm, Qiang Qiang was transferred to his new home–the quarantine villa for pandas. After traveling the long distance and undergoing a grueling surgery, Qiang Qiang’s spirit was completely deflated, which made us worry even more. You could see that he had lost the strength to even open his eyes.  He just curled up motionlessly on the straw mat we prepared for him. That night, I was the only one scheduled  to be on duty. No one who had helped with Qiang Qiang’s transfer was willing to leave, however.  In the office, we all waited and waited for him to wake up.  In order to keep things as quiet as possible, I was the only one who left the office to watch him inside the enclosure. Each time I checked on him, I quietly got close to him, looking at him with so much love as if he was my own child. He was a skeleton of an adult panda with missing limbs. The stitches on his wounds were acutely visible. Some senile plaque could be seen on his nose. He was so thin that only his fur was left to cover his body. Time passed and Qiang Qiang was still in a coma. My tears came again.

Qiang Qiang and I – A Keeper’s Story – Part 1 of 4

Qiang Qiang and I Written by Qiang Zhou, CCRCGP Translated by Pat Weiyi Zhang   For 8 years I have been working to protect the Giant Panda. Time has flown so quickly and so much has happened during that time between the pandas and myself.  The particular panda that I think of most, however, is Qiang Qiang, whose legs were both fractured when I met him – but first, some history. A Fantastic Journey When I was 10, my parents took me to see the pandas in the Wolong Natural Reserve. It was my first time being so close to nature: ranges of lofty mountains, rugged and steep mountain roads, torrential but clear river water, dense and well grown forests, occasionally we were met with a cool breeze and, finally, the pandas that my heart had been longing to see.  Their lovely image left a deep impression in my mind, though at that time I did not know these cute bears would become such a huge part of my life.