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.