Yun Zi (simplified Chinese: 云子; traditional Chinese: 雲子), whose name means “Son of Cloud”, was born at the San Diego Zoo on August 5, 2009. He is the fifth cub born to mom Bai Yun and the fourth to father Gao Gao. Yun Zi has one half-sister, Hua Mei, through Bai Yun. He also has two full brothers, Mei Sheng and Xiao Liwu, and two full sisters, Su Lin and Zhen Zhen. Like his full siblings, he was conceived via natural mating.
Like most pandas, Yun Zi was not named until he was 100 days old. His was selected from a list of over 6,300 names submitted by his fans. He received his official name on November 17, 2009 at 104 days of age. He made his public debut on January 7, 2010, at 155 days of age.
Yun Zi delighted fans at the San Diego Zoo for years. His adoring public watched him grow from a curious (and often mischievous) young cub to an independent “teen” (or subadult) making his way apart from Bai Yun. He was officially weaned in February 2011 and moved into his own “apartment”. Over the years he grew into a strong handsome adult as his fans watched and fell a bit deeper in love with each visit.
The day finally came, as it does for all young pandas on loan from China, for Yun Zi to return to his homeland. On January 9, 2014 the good-natured bear embarked on his most momentous adventure to date and boarded a plane to China.
Yun Zi’s new home is the Dujiangyan Panda Center (part of the China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas). Upon arrival, he spent about a month in quarantine adjusting to the new climate, diet, and language. As major transitions go, Yun Zi took to his new surroundings and settled in quite quickly. He is not quite ready for the breeding program, but within a few years we hope to see little “Yun Zi’s” running around China.