Pandas in China

Spotlight Panda – Mei Ling

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.

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.

From Duke University | An Update on F.I.T. (footprint identification technique)

Sizzling Bamboo Shoots and Footprints: Tracking the Giant Panda… by Zoe Jewell and Sky Alibhai, visiting research scientists — May 28th, 2014 This article was originally published at:  ________________________________________________________________ Guest bloggers Zoe Jewell and Sky Alibhai are visiting research scientists at the Nicholas School of the Environment and at the JMP division of the SAS Institute in Cary, NC. They founded WildTrack ( in response to interest in the research community for cost-effective, non-invasive and sustainable methods of wildlife monitoring. We huddled together at dawn on the bitingly cold and slippery slopes of the eastern Himalayas with our Duke PhD student Binbin Li, on the trail of the Giant panda. Wearing slightly whimsical standard-issue Chinese government panda costumes, we gazed intently at a pile of steaming panda poop. It wasn’t so much the warmth that beckoned, but the slightly sizzling bamboo fragments laid out in front of us. Pandas feed almost exclusively on bamboo, and their feces reflect this.  Until recently, Chinese scientists would attempt to identify individual Giant pandas by the ‘bite size’ of the bamboo fragments in their feces.

Another Tao Tao Update

We have just been sent images of Tao Tao from the wild.  Tao Tao was released into the wild on October 11, 2012.  Those tracking his movements and checking in on him report that he is fully acclimated to his environment and continues to do exceptionally well. We've also been told that Zhang Xiang, released last year, is also doing well and adapting nicely to her new wild life.  CCRCGP has plans to reintroduce another two pandas to the wild this fall. You can learn more about the Reintroduction Program HERE

And now…The Pandas of Old Leopard Mountain and the Overseas Born Area

China, November 2013 - Travel Notes After leaving White Bear Plains, we made our way over to Old Leopard Mountain, which is also known as the Overseas Born pandas area (although pandas who are not overseas born still reside in the area).  The visit to this area introduced us to Lin Bing (just a couple of days out of quarantine), Fu Wa, Shu Qin, Yuan Yuan, Wu Gang, Le Sheng, and Yao Xin. Lin Bing was born on 27 May 2009 at the Chiang Mai Zoo in Thailand to Lin Hui and Chuang Chuan.  She was the first giant panda born in Thailand (they are expecting another any day).  Lin Bing had just recently been returned from Thailand when we visited Bifengxia.  In fact, she had only been out of quarantine and in her new enclosure for a few days when we arrived.  The famous panda, known as Lin Ping in Thailand where she was born, has been returned to the base to find a mate.  During our visit, Lin Bing was very active and appeared to have acclimated well to her new home.  We featured an adopter's story about Lin Bing a few weeks ago. Fu Wa was born on 23 August 2006.  His mother is Long Xin and his father is Lu Lu.  Fu Wa was one of 8 pandas chosen to represent Wolong at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.  After the Olympics, he was sent to live in Wenling before returning to Bifengxia. In June 2012, it was announced that Fu Wa would be one of two pandas chosen to go to Malaysia as part of the 10-year giant panda loan agreement.  His departure date is yet to be determined as the new exhibit is being completed in Malaysia.  He happily posed for us as he munched on his bamboo. Shu Qin was born 26 August 2009 to Ying Ying and Lu Lu.  Both of her parents are wild born.  She's a big girl and has her Daddy's eye patches. Wu Gang is a male panda rescued from near Baoxing around May 2000.  He has fathered a number [...]

Volunteer Story featured in The Virginian Pilot

Lucy Sherrill volunteered at the Bifengxia Panda Base in September of this year.  Her travel story was featured in the Virginian Pilot Newspaper. The text reads:  China offers many amazing sights, and I will enthusiastically discuss the Great Wall, the terra-cotta army and many others.  But getting the chance to work with the pandas at the Bifengxia Panda Center, run by Pandas International, is a memory I will always cherish.  We cleaned their enclosures and fed them bamboo, panda bread, carrots and apples.  We worked so closely that I now can say I have touched a panda paw.  And it didn't take long to become aware of the unique personality of each animal. Thank you, Lucy, for sharing your volunteer story.  While PI does not run the Panda Center or the volunteer program, we support everything the center does and have participated in the volunteer program numerous times.  Our director, Suzanne Braden, was on the tour with Lucy's group.