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US Born Pandas at Bifengxia

China, November 2013 – Travel Notes

The US born Pandas in China are all doing fantastic!  We were able to visit with most of them during our travels in November.  We’ve already featured Atlanta-born Mei Lan  since he resides at a different panda base.  Here, we’ll feature the US pandas under CCRCGP’s care:  Tai Shan, Zhen Zhen, Su Lin, Mei Sheng, and Hua Mei:

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Tai Shan was actually our very first stop when we arrived in BFX.  Tai Shan is the first born cub of to Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, the National Zoo’s second pair of giant pandas. He was born on July 9, 2005 at 3:41 AM.  He left D.C. for China on February 4, 2010 (on the same flight as Mei Lan from Zoo Atlanta)

We were able to spend quite a bit of time with him both that first day, and on two other occasions.  He looks absolutely fantastic – healthy and happy.  He is currently still in the enclosures nearest the vets, but has gone completely off all tummy meds and seems to be enjoying his panda bread more than he has in the past.  He’s at a healthy weight and was very active each time we saw him.

Zhen Zhen is in residence at the New Breeding Center.   She was born August 3, 2007 to Bai Yun and Gao Gao at the San Diego Zoo. Her name means “Precious”.  She is Bai Yun’s fourth cub, and Gao Gao’s third.  Zhen Zhen was conceived via natural mating.

Zhen Zhen made her public debut on December 22, 2007, and was weaned in early 2009. Zhen Zhen, along with her sister Su Lin, were returned to Bifengxia Panda Base in China on September 24, 2010.  She gave birth to a single cub this year, but sadly the cub did not survive.  It is likely that she will participate in the breeding program again in 2014.

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Su Lin was in the outdoor portion of her exhibit while we visited, so we weren’t able to grab a fabulous photo of her (but might be able to add a few to Facebook soon from one of the volunteers who spent time with her).

Born at the San Diego Zoo on August 2, 2005, her name means “a little bit of something very cute” in Chinese.  She is the third cub born to mother Bai Yun, and the second to father Gao Gao. Like all of her full siblings, she was conceived via natural mating.

Su Lin made her public debut in early December, 2005, and was weaned in early 2007.  As mentioned above, she and her sister Zhen Zhen returned to BFX on September 24, 2010.  Su Lin gave birth to twins on July 7, 2011, one was stillborn, the other, Yun Hui, is at Dujiangyan.

Mei Sheng (along with sister Zhen Zhen) is also living at the New Breeding Center.  He is one of two males in residence at the center being “acclimated” to the scent of females in hopes of encouraging natural mating in the spring.  During both of our visits he was “quietly active” either eating or sitting near the adjoining enclosure watching for Na Na to appear.

Mei Sheng, which means either “Beautiful Life” or “Born in the USA”, was born August 19, 2003 at the San Diego Zoo. He is the second panda to be born at the zoo and is the first offspring of Bai Yun and Gao Gao. Mei Sheng was sent to China on November 5, 2007. In May 2009 he successfully mated with a female giant panda, Ying Ying.  It was determined, however, that Ying Ying’s female cub, born August 26, and named Shu Qing, was sired by Lu Lu.

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Hua Mei is currently in residence at Hetaoping and is participating in the reintroduction program so we don’t have current photos of her.

Hua Mei was born August 21, 1999 to Bai Yun and Shi Shi at the San Diego Zoo.  Millions of people around the world watched Hua Mei grow up via the zoo’s Panda Cam. In February 2004, Hua Mei was relocated to the Wolong Reserve. By the end of 2007, she had given birth to 3 sets of twins: male twins Tuan Tuan and Mei Ling on September 1, 2004, male/female twins Wei Wei and Ting Ting on August 29, 2005, and another set of male twins, Hua Long and Hua Ao, on 16 July 2007.

After the 2008 Sichuan earthquake damaged much of the giant panda facility in Wolong, Hua Mei was relocated to BFX. In July, 2009, Hua Mei gave birth to a single female cub named Hao Hao. Hua Mei delivered her eighth cub, a male named Yang Hu, in September 2010. Then she gave birth to her ninth cub, a male named Jia Jia in August 2012.  She gave birth to her tenth cub, a male, in July of this year in the reintroduction program.