Other News

Ella Joins the Ranks of Panda Protectors

Ella had a birthday party in June and asked her friends, instead of giving her a present, to fill up the Panda Coin Bank to raise funds to care for the Giant Pandas.  Her party was held at a craft store where she and her friends painted a wooden frame and decorated the frame with panda stickers.  They used the panda postcards that came with the PI birthday package to write out a thank you card and cut it so it fit in the frame.  They also used the stickers and bracelets from the birthday kit to fill goody bags for the kids to take home. Before the kids enjoyed pizza, chicken nuggets, and cake, Ella told them all about the plight of the pandas and how Pandas International is helping them.  Together the kids raised about $109!!! As a special treat from her family, Ella went on a road trip to visit the pandas at Zoo Atlanta. Thank you, Ella, for being a Panda Protector and for helping to care for our beloved bears!!  

From Conception through Year 1 – part 2 of 4

If you didn't catch part 1 - Read about Panda Conception Here A Cub is Born July through September is the period of time that pandas generally give birth to their cubs.  Since pandas have delayed implantation, the gestation period varies.  Typically, they carry their cubs for 3 to 6 months.  All panda cubs are born premature and, as such, they are very fragile. When Panda cubs are born, they are tiny, blind, pink, and have very little hair.  On average, they only weigh about 100g (0.2 lbs).  To put this into perspective, they are approximately the size of a stick of butter - 1/900th the size of their mothers. The limbs of a newborn cub are so weak that they are unable to stand.  They spend the first two months of their lives eating and sleeping. The First Month While pandas are born looking very little like pandas it doesn't take long for that to change.  At about 7 days - some of the typical "panda markings" begin to appear on their ears, around their eyes, and on their shoulders.  The baby panda's whole job is to eat and sleep. At about a month old more of the black markings appear on the neck and chest, their eye patches darken.  They begin to crawl around (it's more of a scoot than a crawl) and their eyes start to open.

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.

Panda Cubs – Formula – and a Call for Help!

Formula is a vital part of raising Panda cubs in captivity to ensure the survival of the species.  A female panda is only able to care for a single cub when they are first born, yet they often give birth to twins.  In the wild, when this happens, one of the cubs will perish.    In captivity, thanks to dedicated keepers, incubators, and formula - both cubs are able to survive.  In a process named "cub-swapping", both cubs spend alternating time with their mother nursing and in the nursury where their diet is supplemented with formula. Another case when formula is needed is when a cub (or cubs) are born to mothers who haven’t quite mastered the proper skills to care for them.  In these cases, the cub will also be hand raised by humans. As a side note, CCRCGP has begun a program of Foster Mothering so that all cubs get time with a "panda mama". As the cubs grow, so does the need for more formula! While PI staff were in China last November, we were able to watch and photograph the formula being prepared for the older cubs.  The process is very controlled and it was clear to see how vital PI donations of formula are given the quantities that the cubs consume at each feeding. Each serving is measured precisely to ensure that the cubs are getting both the proper nutrients and a healthy serving size for their developmental needs. Donate to the Formula Fund! You can help ensure that this year's cubs (as well as last year's toddlers) have plenty to eat.  If you are wondering, one 22lb bag of formula costs approximately $280.  Simply click the button to the left and make your tax deductible donation.  Add "formula" to the comments box.

From Conception Through Year 1 – Part 1 of 4

© Telegraph UK Conception When we think of "conceiving" a baby animal, most of us probably think...well, they mate, the egg is fertilized, and a few months later we have a baby.  For pandas, it isn't quite that easy.  Early last year we posted an article from  about why pandas are challenged at reproducing if you'd like a more in depth explanation.  To summarize, most pandas don't mate well in captivity.  In essence, they simply don't know what to do.  To make matters more difficult, female pandas are only able to conceive once per year for approximately two days.  That's only 48 hours A YEAR that a panda can become pregnant.  While all attempts are generally made to allow a pair to mate naturally, if nature does NOT take it's course, keepers rely on artificial insemination to "help" a panda conceive.  But, as with natural mating, AI is not a guaranteed pregnancy. So, now we just need to determine whether our female panda is pregnant.  Easy right?  Not quite.  After natural mating or artificial insemination, female pandas can undergo what is called a pseudo-pregnancy.  During a pseudo-pregnancy, their bodies -- including hormonal levels -- show all the signs of pregnancy even though they are not actually pregnant. Signs of Pregnancy (and Pseudo-Pregnancy) Eating less:  When giant pandas are within a month or two of giving birth, their appetites decrease. Since adult pandas consume nearly 40 pounds of bamboo a day (and eat 14 hours of every day), it is pretty obvious when there is a decrease. Nesting:   As a pregnant giant panda gets closer to her due date she will begin shredding bamboo into little pieces to make a nest.  Caretakers will also provide other nesting materials to facilitate the behavior. Hormone Levels:  A pregnant (and pseudo-pregnant) panda's progesterone levels rise during pregnancy. Lethargy:  Another sign of panda pregnancy is increased lethargy and lots of sleeping. Even if a panda displays all of the behaviors listed above - she still may be "faking" her pregnancy.  The only 100% sure test is a positive ultrasound.  BUT, of course, with a panda [...]

PI Supporter Chet Chin Awaits her Panda Daughter’s Arrival in Malaysia

Reprinted from The Star Online Published: Saturday April 12, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM by tho xin yi Bear hugs: Chin interacting with Feng Yi during her visit to the panda base in September 2007. Chet Chin, A Malaysian who has been acquainted with Feng Yi for years, eagerly waits for her arrival together with another panda, Fu Wa. THE two giant pandas from China will be arriving in Kuala Lumpur, close to the 40th anniversary of the Joint Communique on May 31, 1974 which marked the beginning of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China. While Malaysians are eagerly waiting to get to know Feng Yi and Fu Wa, there is one Malaysian who has been acquainted with the duo for years. What’s more, she is the “adoptive mother” of Feng Yi, the female panda, through a Colorado-based non-profit organisation known as Pandas International. Chin Chet Mooi, 55, referred to Feng Yi tenderly as her daughter on her blog (mypandas.org), where she monitored the progress of the panda loan closely. From her posts, one could tell she has a deep affection for the cuddly and adorable creatures. “My fascination with pandas began as my response to the millennium challenge. We were coming up to a new millennium (Year 2000) and I found myself wanting to do something to commemorate the milestone. “I decided to choose a topic of interest and spend the next 12 months learning all I can about it, and three things happened around the same time that pointed me to my subject,” she said in an email. The three things were a Reader’s Digest cover story on China’s panda biologist Prof Pan Wenshi, an Animal Planet documentary on a panda reserve in China, and the debut of a panda cub, Hua Mei, at the San Diego Zoo. They offered Chin a glimpse into giant panda conservation and prompted her to read up more on pandas. When Chin chanced upon Pandas International (www.pandasinternational.org) on the Internet, she was drawn to its volunteer programme where members could work alongside keepers to look after the giant pandas at the Wolong Panda […]

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 [...]

Honored to be Named “Favorite Panda Charity” for a 2nd year

Atlanta, GA January 17, 2014 Jeroen Jacobs announced the results of the Giant Panda Zoo Awards 2013, in a ceremony held at the Zoo Atlanta on Friday, January 17.  There were 10 categories for the voting including; Favorite Cub of the year, the Human of the year, Panda Moment of the Year and Favorite Panda Charity. Mei Lun & Mei Huan of the Atlanta Zoo won for cubs of the year, since they are the first surviving twin cubs born in the US. The Human of the year was shared between Dr. Copper Aitken-Palmer and Dr. David Kersey for the artificial insemination of the cubs. Panda Moment of the Year was the reintroduction of Zhang Xiang into the wild. Pandas International won Favorite Panda Charity for the second year in a row.  Suzanne Braden, Director of Pandas International, said “the organization is extremely honored to win this award again.  We would like to thank everyone who voted for Pandas International to achieve this recognition of our work.” Pandas International was extremely pleased to see Dr. David Kersey win as he collaborates with Pandas International on endocrinology training. Zhang Xiang’s win is also related to Pandas International as her tracking collar for monitoring her in the wild was provided by Pandas International, and her twin sister Su Shan is named after Director Suzanne Braden. Pandas International's mission is to ensure the preservation and propagation of the endangered Giant Panda by providing public awareness and education, support for research, habitat preservation and enhancement, and assistance to Giant Panda Centers. Pandas International is a non-profit based in Littleton, CO. Braden noted that the award will increase awareness of the organization and the plight of the endangered Giant Pandas. For winners in all categories go to Giant Panda Zoo’s web site - www.giantpandazoo.com, which posts all things panda; news of Giant Pandas around the world, panda facts and history of the pandas.  Giant Panda Zoo contributes to increasing awareness of the Giant Panda in a significant way. Jeroen Jacobs, founder of Giant Panda Zoo, celebrates 25 years of passion for pandas this year. His [...]