|Some original material reprinted by Pandas International’s Newsletter is used without editing for accepted English usage.|
PANDAS IN CHINA
Suzanne’s Annual Trip to China – Quick Recap
Pandas International’s Director, Suzanne Braden, just returned from her annual trip to China. During her travels, Suzanne visited both the Panda Base at Bifengxia and the new Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Dujiangyan. While a detailed trip review will be posted in the coming weeks on our blog, here are a few highlights:
Many supplies were delivered to the Bifengxia base. Tai Shan is doing well — he’s healthy and content in his new enclosure. While he didn’t mate successfully this year, he did participate in the program and the exposure to the female pandas was key to his future mating efforts. The newly constructed corridor, funded by PI, looks fantastic. She visited both the kindergarten and the breeding center to see this year’s cubs (always a highlight).
The new CDC is beautiful. The grounds host a hospital, administration building, reception area, and tourist center. The hospital should be open in a few months. The tourist center is still under construction but will be a fantastic display. Lots of new bamboo is growing on the grounds. Ten pandas are currently living on the grounds, including Suzanne’s adopted daughter Su Shan. All are doing well.
Filming Pandas in 3D — a Sky3D and Nat Geo Wild Production
Almost a year ago, a TV crew of six, plus about a metric ton of equipment, ventured into the wilds of China to to film Pandas in 3D. They visited China’s Sichuan province three times — to film the animals mating, with their young, and to witness a release into the wild. They found each visit “more extraordinary than the last.” Their final filming trip, to the Wolong Panda Center, focused on Tao Tao’s release into the wild. With only verbal permission, granted the night before the release, they were able to capture the historic event. Director Nicolas Brown recalls,” High up in a remote mountain reserve we watched Tao Tao’s historic journey from captivity back into the wild. When Tao Tao finally did trundle off into the forest, it struck me that the world has been waiting for a good news environmental story. Tao Tao is still thriving a year on. And we were fortunate enough to capture it, in glorious 3D!”
PANDAS AROUND THE WORLD
“Yuan Zai” is on the Move in Taiwan
The Taipei Zoo’s baby panda, nicknamed “Yuan Zai,” is practicing crawling according to zoo officials. The female cub, born on July 6, is in good health, is growing fast, and is developing right on track.
Panda Photos and Videos
Why Are Panda Cubs So Small?
Ever wonder why it is that panda cubs are born so very small (only 1/900th the size of their mothers)? One researcher who has spent years researching endangered animals and ecology in China says it is likely due to their bamboo diet. Dr Dajun Wang says that their size is a “kind of breeding strategy” and that bamboo, which is nutritionally poor, is converted into milk far easier than into animal tissue.
Why Pandas Don’t “Deserve to Die”
In September, on our blog, we featured a three part series “rebuttal” against those who argue that Pandas are a “worthless” species that should be allowed to die out. Dan Nasowitz, PopSci.com’s Associate Editor, compiled a well written and scientifically-based set of arguments as to why Pandas SHOULD be protected. Mr. Nasowitz finds the idea that we are only saving the Giant Panda because it is a “cute” species” both flawed and harmful to the conservation movement as a whole. He tackled diet, breeding difficulties, the idea that Pandas are simply a “figurehead” species, the conservation movement, and the power that the Panda has as a global conservation species.
National Zoo Panda Keepers Train at Bifengxia
Juan Rodriguez and his colleague Marty Dearie, both Panda keepers at the Smithsonian National Zoo, spent time recently at the Panda Base in Bifengxia training and fostering collaboration between the two facilities. Juan recounted his time at the Panda Base in Bifengzia as “an amazing learning experience on all levels.” Rodriguez told Smithsonian.com about working with the keepers in China who have years and years of knowledge working with pandas both in captivity and in their wild habitat. They not only witnessed three cub births, one of which was a set of twins, but also had a chance to see how the nursery staff cares for the neonatal cubs, ranging from birth to two weeks of age, and some other cubs who were a month or two months old. He stated that seeing pandas at all different age stages all at once was “an invaluable learning experience.”