Everyone has asked for an update on Tai Shan, so I will attempt to provide as much information as possible.
Since Tai is now at the beginning of breeding age, he was introduced into the breeding program this year. However, like most young males, Tai did not quite get the “hang of it”. Spending time around the female pandas and experiencing new scents is essential for future attempts and a second attempt will likely be made to breed him next year.
After he completed his residence in the breeding area, Tai Shan was moved to an enclosure directly across from the hospital. This area was chosen as Tai’s annual tummy problem (technically know as Irritable Bowel Syndrome) was beginning to act up, as it tends to each fall. This tummy issue is nothing new and actually started when he was in D.C. It is a common problem with pandas as bamboo is low in nutritional value and passes through the digestive system quickly. His new location places him minutes away from the veterinarians across the way. Vets can check on him frequently and the keepers’ office is only a few feet way. Dr. Wang’s (head of animal care) office window actually looks directly on to his enclosure.
His keepers are not certain how long he will be in this enclosure but he is doing great, eating well and gaining weight – is up to a healthy 220 lbs. He is not fond of the panda bread so keepers have to hide it in bamboo shoots. Each time I have visited him, he has been content and munching away on his bamboo.
As adult pandas are solitary animals by nature, Tai does not share an enclosure. Very seldom are adult pandas kept together. It has happened, but it takes very docile pandas for it to be successful.
I’m thrilled to report that Tai is in great shape – he’s happy, healthy, and is in the hands of fabulous keepers.