Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:54 pm

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As mentioned in previous updates, we are nearing the end of Lun Lun’s pseudopregnancy, and the recent cool weather has allowed us to utilize our outdoor habitats. While Yang Yang and the twins spent time outside, we were able to give Lun Lun access to both dayrooms. She utilized all of the space to the fullest, and took naps in the hammock and on top of both structures. We are still closely monitoring her for signs that she wants to come back into her behind-the-scenes dens. She’s a bit sleepy, and the behind-the-scenes areas provide a quiet place where we can turn the lights out. We’ve been happy to see that she is enjoying spending time in the dayrooms, and by the time she comes out of her pseudopregnancy it should be nice and cool out so she can enjoy the outdoor habitats as well. In the meantime, she’s spending the majority of time behind the scenes with her care team, with frequent leafeater biscuit and banana breaks throughout the day.
Danica W.
Swing Keeper I, Mammals
(photo by Danica W.)
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Kate Roca
October 12, 2018
Taking care of the basic needs of a giant panda is like riding a bike; it comes back to you quickly. Hello, my name is Kate and I am the Lead Keeper of Hoofstock. You may be wondering why a hoofstock team member is writing the panda update for today. Well, some of you may remember me, as I started here at Zoo Atlanta 15 years ago as a giant panda keeper. I worked with Yang Yang, Lun Lun and their first three cubs for seven and a half years before I moved to another department, then onto hoofstock a few years later. Being in hoofstock means I am still part of the larger Mammal Team, which consists of the panda, carnivore, elephant and hoofstock areas. When one area is short on staff, we will normally shift our Swing Keepers (those who work in all the mammal areas), but this week they were needed in other areas. So, I got to hop back on my panda care-taking bike and helped out for three days.
Though I have not been working this routine for seven and a half years, it all came back to me quickly. The pandas still love having fresh bamboo and a refill of their leafeater biscuits about every three hours during the day. The care team still has to closely watch and evaluate the type of bamboo the pandas are preferring to eat and communicate that to the Bamboo Team. The giant panda team has to clean up all the waste and leftover bamboo, and securing the leftovers into bundles is as easy as it was when I started once you know the technique. It has been great to spend time with Lun Lun and Yang Yang and see that even though they are older, they still have the same bear personalities that I learned to love so many years ago.
Kate R.
Lead Keeper, Hoofstock
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q. I definitely remember Kate & how wonderful she was with the pandas when I first started with Mei Lan, &~~ I bet he, Xi Lan & Po remember her too, & know Lun Lun & Yang Yang are happy to get to see her again, ~ and the little Luns will love getting to know her for a few days too :grhug: :hi: :hooray:
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. ~ Aristotle
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:15 pm

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Hello from PandaLand! It’s been what feels like an eternity since I last worked with the giant pandas, and what a treat it is. As you may recall from previous updates, Lun Lun has been experiencing a pseudopregnancy, so has been spending more time behind the scenes lately. If you visited the Zoo on Tuesday, or tuned in to PandaCam, you may have noticed that we gave Lun Lun the opportunity to spend the morning out in one of the habitats. She settled right in eating her breakfast, and when she was finished, she thoroughly explored the entire habitat checking out all the sights, sounds and smells. After a short nap, she went straight into lunch. She was calm and relaxed all morning and seemed to enjoy being back out in the sunshine!
Jen A.
Keeper II, Mammals

(photo by Jen W.)
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:27 pm

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Remember when Ya Lun and Xi Lun were just beginning to eat bamboo? It’s hard to believe that was only just a little over a year ago! Now, they devour several pounds of it every day. We are currently offering Ya Lun and Xi Lun over 60 pounds of bamboo just overnight. As subadults, the twins are little bamboo-eating machines. They are trying to consume as many calories as they possibly can to fuel their growing bodies.
Heather R.
Senior Keeper, Carnivores
(photos by Heather R.)
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It seems as though Georgia has finally figured out it’s fall, and we have all been enjoying the cooler weather. Idgie the red panda, much like the giant pandas, really enjoys the cooler days and nights and is able to keep warm thanks to her dense and thick fur. During the summer, she utilizes her temperature-controlled hut that we provide her with, but this past week she has been napping or enjoying her time perched on one of her ramps. She is also vocalizing much more at this time of year. Her vocalizations are similar to the bleats that the giant pandas make, just much more high-pitched. It is definitely a great and very cute start to our mornings each day.
Danica W.
Keeper I, Mammals
(photo by Danica W.)
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. ~ Aristotle
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:35 pm

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As the cubs have grown, it has been fun to watch their personalities develop, as well as some of the physical characteristics they share with Lun Lun, Yang Yang and their other siblings. The markings on a giant panda are fairly unique, but there are definitely some reoccurring themes in the Yang Yang and Lun Lun family tree. We’re still holding out to see if any of the cubs have inherited Yang Yang’s famous “Shrek” ears. A few of the cubs, however, have inherited Lun Lun’s fluffy, round face. Although I never worked with Xi Lan, I hear frequently that he is just as big of a goofball as Yang Yang is. Ya Lun certainly shows similar eating traits to Lun Lun, meaning that she almost always has food on the brain. Xi Lun also shares her eye patch “swooshing” pattern with her older brother, Xi Lan. As the cubs continue through their sub-adult phase, it’ll be interesting to see which other characteristics pop up on their way to being adult pandas.
Danica W.
Keeper I, Mammals
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~ Daddy Yang ~ Cub Xi Lun ~ Cub Ya Lun ~ Mama Lun Lun
:rh: :pan:
{I'm sure you agree they are all 4 adorable, & cubbies got beauty & preciousness from both parents ! } :grhug:
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Some people (and animals) like warm temperatures. Other people, like myself (and other animals) like cooler weather. With their dense fur coat, the cooler the weather, the happier giant pandas are! The weather in Atlanta has been blissfully cool this week, and that means we have been able to utilize the outdoor habitats all day, every day. The adult pandas, Yang Yang and Lun Lun, have thoroughly enjoyed being outside. They have spent the whole week chowing down on bamboo followed up by multiple naps throughout the day. Lun Lun is still slowly coming out of her pseudopregnancy, and as we expected, she isn’t as hungry as she usually is, and she still occasionally peels her bananas and eats everything but the peel (something that only happens when her hormones are fluctuating). This is normal and as long as she is maintaining her healthy weight, we’ll continue to let her tell us where she wants to hang out for the day and how much she’s in the mood to eat!
Jen W.
Keeper III, Mammals
(photo by Jen W.)
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. ~ Aristotle
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:35 pm

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One of the most heart-melting aspects of working with the giant pandas is having the ability to come to work first thing and see Yang Yang curled up asleep. He has three large behind-the-scenes rooms to spend the night in, and yet he always sleeps with his head and face squished up into a corner. It’s ridiculously cute. One question we always get asked is: “Do you give the pandas anything to sleep on?” The answer: sometimes we do, but for enrichment – if the giant pandas preferred to sleep on substrate, we would always offer it. However, when behind the scenes, our pandas always prefer to sleep on the bare floor or the elevated scale platform. Whenever we offer substrate to sleep on (hay beds, for example), they either completely ignore the hay bed or push it out of the way of their favorite sleeping spot!
Jen W.
Keeper III, Mammals
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Introducing new items in the giant pandas’ diets can be quite a challenge. They are creatures of habit, and would much rather stick to what they know than waste time eating something that might not be nutritionally worth it. Although pears are not something they get often, they are something they get regularly enough to remember that they like them. Nutritionally, the apples they receive in their daily diets can be replaced with pears, and both Lun Lun and Yang Yang enjoy the occasional change. Ya Lun and Xi Lun still haven’t quite decided if they are interested or not. This morning I gave Yang Yang a particularly juicy pear, and he immediately kicked back and enjoyed his morning snack. Watching the giant pandas get whole produce always makes me laugh. They lean back, close their eyes, and enjoy each and every bite. After they’re done, the lick their paws and make sure they get every last drop. Yang Yang sometimes appears so happy that he looks like he’s forgotten to breathe in between bites. Rest assured he is fine and just enjoying his fruit as thoroughly as he can. Check out a video on Zoo Atlanta’s Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages!
Danica W.
Keeper I, Mammals
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:31 pm

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Since I just learned the giant panda care routine this summer, winter is a whole new ballgame! Now that the weather is cooler, the pandas are spending more time in their outdoor habitats. That means I’m learning new parts of the building and outdoor areas that I’ve never had the opportunity to use before! One of the coolest things I am getting to do for the first time is shift the pandas through the hallway that leads them from a den in the building to Habitat 2. It is a very long hallway and we walk nearly the same path as the panda moves through (with a barrier separating us from the panda, of course, for safety). It feels like we are taking a walk outside with the pandas as we both stroll to Habitat 2! And at the end, fresh bamboo, and leafeater biscuits for the happy panda!
Michelle E.
Keeper II, Mammals
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:33 pm

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If you have followed the pandas for a while, you’ll know that giant pandas are creatures of habit. They like to munch on bamboo throughout the day, and if the bamboo isn’t quite up to their standards, they are quick to let their care staff know. This can sometimes lovingly earn them the title of “finicky,” and we’re fortunate to have some tricks up our sleeves to encourage them to eat even when the bamboo isn’t perceived by them to be perfect. Another interesting food-related title that giant pandas often receive is “food neophobic.” This means that they aren’t really keen to try new foods, especially if it is something they have never encountered before. We recently began transitioning the giant pandas to a new type of leafeater biscuit, and they have been slow to decide if the new biscuits are, indeed, food. This is where the amazing creativity of care staff comes in handy, as the panda team painstakingly makes biscuit balls for the pandas each day.

So what are biscuit balls? They are a specific ratio of old biscuit to new biscuit, softened into mush, and rolled into balls. It takes a decent amount of time every day to make biscuit balls for four pandas, and as the ratio of old biscuits decreases, care staff have begun offering whole new biscuits on occasion. Lun Lun and Ya Lun were the first to decide that these new biscuits just *might* be edible. Not to be outdone, Yang Yang and Xi Lun have also decided to give the biscuits a try, much to the excitement of the panda team! None of them are completely sold on the idea yet, but this is definitely progress.
Jen A.
Keeper II, Mammals
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Twins in the Boo :pan: :cloud9: :pan:
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:31 pm

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Having worked with Lun Lun for eight years now, I’ve never actually known her to not be either going through a pregnancy or rearing cubs. Lun Lun does not have any cubs to care for this year. It’s so interesting to be able to see her individual personality shine through as she has an opportunity to be a solitary bear, which is what giant pandas are by nature. Historically, Lun Lun has been known as the “bottomless pit panda” in the sense that she never seems to be satisfied. This, of course, was always due to her raising offspring and all the excellent care she provided them. Now she sleeps more, eats less, and seems to be enjoying this quieter life. She seems to be simply taking full advantage of her independence!
Jen W.
Keeper III, Mammals

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Recently, we completed our leafeater biscuit transition, and all of the giant pandas have adjusted well. Yang Yang was the most hesitant (as he is with most things), but shortly realized that the new biscuits were just as great as the others. Ya Lun and Xi Lun are extremely focused on food at this age, so they took the transition very well. Although, despite her food-focused mentality, we have discovered that Xi Lun is not a fan of sugarcane. This is extremely surprising, as sugarcane is usually the ultimate giant panda treat. It reminds us that all of the animals here at the Zoo are individuals with their own preferences, likes, and dislikes!
Danica W.
Keeper I, Mammals
(photo by Danica W.)
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:33 pm

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In the giant panda building, the animal care team works a staggered schedule. So, one keeper is usually here for about an hour before the other, getting things prepped and ready for the day. After they go take care of Idgie the red panda, there is usually time to set up habitats and dayrooms, as well. If the pandas wake up before the second keeper gets here, we are able to give them leafeater biscuits and bamboo in their overnight areas to hold them over. I enjoy being the opening keeper because it gives me some quiet time to spend with the pandas before we all get our day started. This morning, I gave everyone some frozen fruit as enrichment to start out their day. Yang Yang was quick to take the apple and continue his relaxing morning while we waited for the second keeper to arrive.
Danica W.
Keeper I, Mammals
(photo by Danica W.)
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Danica W
November 21, 2018

Ya Lun and Xi Lun have hit a major milestone in their training! We have been working with them closely to prepare them for voluntary blood draws. Each day we can visually check the giant pandas’ health through our other husbandry behaviors, such as looking at their teeth and eyes, but being able to obtain a blood sample allows us to get an even closer look at their overall health.
We use positive reinforcement-based training, which means everything is completely on the pandas’ terms. If Ya Lun and Xi Lun don’t feel like participating in the training session or getting their blood drawn, they don’t have to! If they choose not to participate, we simply try again another day or adjust our training plan to make them more comfortable.
Ya Lun and Xi Lun have, however, picked up this behavior like pros and are eager to train each day. In this photo you can see a part of the panda’s behind-the-scenes overnight den areas. They spend most of their time in the habitats or dayrooms, but we will ask them to come into these areas when we need to clean or for training. The horizontal panels can be removed, and we can do a variety of training in these areas while still being securely separated from the pandas. The tube you see is our “blood sleeve.” We ask the giant pandas to place their arms into the tube, grab ahold of a horizontal bar, and hold in place. We then shave a small patch of their fur, which allows the veterinary staff to disinfect the area and draw blood.
Ya Lun and Xi Lun haven’t reached the final stage of having blood drawn and are still working on the training leading up to that point. They really enjoy the training interaction with their care team, so I don’t expect it will be much longer until they’ve got it down. So far, they have learned the behavior more quickly than any of their siblings before them have. So, if you see little patches of shaved fur on their arms, just know that they are training rock stars learning how to help their care team make sure they stay healthy!
Danica W.
Keeper I, Mammals
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:39 pm

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Ya Lun and Xi Lun are little bamboo-eating machines! We are currently training them the “bamboo” cue, and they are making it so easy because they love to eat bamboo. It may sound strange to say that we are training them to eat bamboo; however, that’s not exactly what we are doing. The goal is to teach them that they can receive a reward for eating bamboo. Pandas are very specific about what bamboo they eat, and, unfortunately for us, they choose it by smell. Since we keepers and the Bamboo Team do not have the olfactory abilities of a panda, we do end up with bamboo that the pandas refuse to eat. On days when the bamboo we have is rejected, the bamboo cue allows us to ask the pandas to eat bamboo, and if they eat even just one leaf, they receive a leafeater biscuit as a reward, just like any other trained behavior. This cue is a great way to encourage the pandas to eat bamboo when the bamboo we have on offer is not to their liking. It’s a win-win!
Heather R.
Senior Keeper, Carnivores

(photo by Heather R.)
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:44 pm

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As Heather mentioned previously, the twins are little bamboo-eating machines! Some of my favorite aspects of my job are the moments when we aren’t in a rush to feed another giant panda or wanting to take advantage of precious project time – moments when we simply sit with the pandas and build/strengthen our relationships while they eat. This usually involves a leafeater biscuit feed as they are always assuming that the presence of a human equates yummy snacks. These bonding moments are especially important with the twins as we encourage them to associate us with positive and calm environments. These moments where we simply hang out with the giant pandas also allow us to observe them for an extended period of time, which in turn allows us to notice potential problems or quirky personality traits. It’s hard not to whip out our cameras and take a quick picture when the sub-adult in front of you is “double-fisting” it with a leafeater biscuit in one paw and a wad of bamboo leaves in the other paw alternating, between taking a bite of bamboo and then biscuit!
Jen W.
Keeper III, Mammals
(Photo by Jen W.)
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In a previous post, we mentioned Xi Lun’s distaste for sugarcane. We joke in the giant panda building that sugarcane is where pandas harness all of their power from (not true, as it is just an occasional treat), so everyone was a bit surprised to find that she didn’t like it. Ya Lun, on the other hand absolutely loves it, and even at her age has no problem crushing through a frozen piece of it. This morning we gave her a piece while Xi Lun was munching away on some bamboo. I think they both enjoyed the time spent enjoying some of their favorite snacks without having to worry about if the item their sister had was better. You know it’s a good snack when they close their eyes!
Danica W.
Keeper I, Mammals
(video by Danica W.)

Dec 14
:vid: https://twitter.com/i/status/1073699317872017409 < 34 seconds ~ good sound too :D
Xi Lun might not like sugar cane very much, but Ya Lun certainly does!
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{q. Ya Lun is so much like her Mom Lun Lun, who loves sugar cane too, and that is good, for they gave her some to coax her to switch twins, in helping her care for them individually}


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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Sat Dec 22, 2018 7:42 pm

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Due to the rainy weather recently, we weren’t able to use our outdoor habitats. When this happens we have one of the bears (or two if it’s Ya Lun and Xi Lun) spend the day behind the scenes with us. They really seem to enjoy the extra interaction with their care team, and we certainly enjoy it as well. It provides a great opportunity for training sessions, extra enrichment, and spending quality time building our relationships with them. I have only ever known Lun Lun as a mother caring for her young, so it’s been really fun for me to get to know her more as an individual giant panda. She sleeps a lot more and isn’t as much of a vacuum with her leafeater biscuits as she used to be. This is to be expected, as sleeping and getting all of her leafeater biscuits became much more complicated with two growing cubs running around. She has always been a great panda mom and charismatic bear to work with, but it will be fun for us to get to know Lun Lun as an individual.
Danica W.
Keeper I, Mammals
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(photo by B. Smith)
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& now for Daddy Yang :rh:
ZA 12/18/18
Well, giant pandas are more closely related to wolverines than alligators, or Yang Yang is just positive Michigan is going to win! Yang Yang picked Michigan to win the Peach Bowl between No. 10 @ FloridaFootball and No. 7 @UMichFootball
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https://www.ajc.com/sports/college/how- ... 7py6B83lN/
The Michigan Wolverines and Florida Gators are scheduled to arrive in Atlanta on Sunday to begin the buildup to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl six days later.
It’s a pairing of top-10 teams that bowl officials are excited about – but had no input into putting together.
As part of its deal to become a rotating host of College Football Playoff semifinal games, the Peach Bowl ceded authority to determine its matchups to the CFP selection committee, even in seasons, such as this one, when the bowl doesn’t host a semifinal.
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:23 pm

M e r r y ~ C h r i s t m a s ~ to All!
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^ click bigger ~ Mama Lun Napping :cloud9:
Jen W
December 24, 2018
We have a “secret” path we take when we feed and care for Idgie the red panda that is within our quarantine space so we don’t have to change our shoes. No other staff walks this path unless they’ve disinfected their shoes and are wearing booties. It also happens to be the quickest way to her habitat! You can sort of see the general area if you are standing in front of the second, larger outdoor habitat (known as “Habitat 2”). It’s always kind of cool to walk back from Idgie’s and see a panda off in the distance through the trees. Upon first glace it’s a little difficult to see all the safety barriers, which can trick the brain into thinking that there isn’t anything separating you from the panda. Upon walking back from Idgie’s habitat this morning, I found Lun Lun curled up in her favorite sleeping spot in this habitat – the firehose hammock I built her! She looks awfully comfy and I was a little jealous I couldn’t go and take a nap myself!
Jen W.
Keeper III, Mammals
(Photo by Jen W.
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^ click 2X biggest ~ Daddy Yang & His Pear (from below video) :wub:

:vid: https://www.facebook.com/ZooATL/videos/253828042154765/ < 35 second adorable video of
Yang Yang and his pear
So, the pandas sometimes like apples, but how do they feel about pears?
Introducing new items in the giant pandas' diets can be quite a challenge. They are creatures of habit, and would much rather stick to what they know than waste time eating something that might not be nutritionally worth it. Although pears are not something they get often, they are something they get regularly enough to remember that they like them. Nutritionally, the apples they receive in their daily diets can be replaced with pears, and both Lun Lun and Yang Yang enjoy the occasional change. Ya Lun and Xi Lun still haven't quite decided if they are interested or not. This morning I gave Yang Yang a particularly juicy pear, and he immediately kicked back and enjoyed his morning snack. Watching the giant pandas get whole produce always makes me laugh. They lean back, close their eyes, and enjoy each and every bite. After they're done, the lick their paws and make sure they get every last drop. Yang Yang sometimes appears so happy that he looks like he's forgotten to breathe in between bites. Rest assured he is fine and just enjoying his fruit as thoroughly as he can.
Danica W.
Keeper I, Mammals
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^ click 2X biggest ~ ZA photo of Cubbie Ya Lun :rh: enjoying boo (facebook today)
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:33 pm

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Danica W
January 7, 2019
Did you know that red pandas were actually discovered by scientists before giant pandas? Due to their similar bamboo diets and pseudothumbs, many also believed that red pandas and giant pandas were closely related. Red pandas, however, are the only living members of the family Ailuridae. Their taxonomic classification has been a topic of debate for many years, and they were originally grouped in with members of the raccoon family due to their similar appearances and head structure. Further look at their DNA then caused them to be assigned to the bear family, Ursidae. The most recent genetic research places them into their own family that I mentioned before (Ailuridae) and they are recognized as an ancient species of the order Carnivora. They are most likely closely related to weasels, raccoons and skunks. Two subspecies of red panda are recognized (Ailurus fulgens fulgens and Ailurus fulgens refulgens), which is why red pandas you see at other facilities may look different in coloration than Idgie.
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
(photo by Danica W.)
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Danica W
January 4, 2019
It’s hard to believe 2018 is already over. The past year has been exciting for the Panda Team, as we have watched Ya Lun and Xi Lun grow, and Lun Lun and Yang Yang continue to be amazing ambassadors for their species. Idgie the red panda has kept us on our toes, and we’re proud we were able to give her a comfortable and engaging habitat as she gets older. The last year was particularly exciting for me, as I joined the panda care team full-time after working in multiple areas the past few years. To say these bears have stolen my heart is probably the biggest understatement of the year. The team is ready for 2019 and looking forward to reaching the goals we have set for ourselves. Thank you to all of you for your support of not only the pandas, but for all the animals at Zoo Atlanta and the important work we are doing. Conservation is a team effort, and we wouldn’t be able to do it without you! We hope you all had a safe and fun New Year! I took a page out of Yang Yang’s book and snuck to bed a little early.
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
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Heather R
January 2, 2019
Yang Yang has a signature move that lets us know he feels playful: he bites his paw and shakes his head with his paw in his mouth. I have also seen Lun Lun and Yang Yang’s second offspring, Xi Lan, do the same behavior when he was playful. The other day, Xi Lun was having a little play bout by herself, and guess what she did?! Several times, she grabbed her paw with her mouth and shook her head just like Yang Yang! So cute! If you happened to catch it on PandaCam, we hope you enjoyed seeing it as much as Danica and I enjoyed seeing it that day!
Heather R.
Senior Keeper, Carnivores
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. ~ Aristotle
~ Member since: 08/16/06 with Previous Posts: 4386 ~

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queenie
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:08 pm

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Jen W
January 11, 2019
Sometimes we take an opportunity to give the twins a chance to hang out in their behind-the-scenes areas as a change from the outdoor habitats or dayrooms. The twins enjoy being outside and in their climate-controlled dayrooms, and spend most of their time in these areas, but it’s also a treat for them to spend some time behind the scenes and in the back of the complex with us. I thoroughly enjoy these times because we have the ability to interact with them twice as much – an opportunity their parents also enjoy. It’s fun to sit with them and feed them their leafeater biscuits while they munch away on bamboo, as it gives me more time to discover new ways in which they are different! I’m starting to think that Ya Lun has the longer-yet-thinner muzzle, while Xi Lun has the shorter-wider muzzle. Their older twin sisters also had this muzzle differentiation, which was very helpful in telling them apart at times! What do you think?
Jen W.
Keeper III, Mammals

(photo by Jen W.)
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. ~ Aristotle
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queenie
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Sat Jan 19, 2019 7:17 pm

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Many of you who have followed the giant pandas for a long time may remember that Lun Lun has always refused to eat sweet potatoes. Yang Yang and all but one of Lun Lun’s offspring love to eat sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes were always one food item we knew Lun Lun wouldn’t steal from her cubs once they started eating solid foods. But, Lun Lun has never liked to be predictable, so I really shouldn’t be surprised that she recently decided sweet potatoes aren’t that bad. In fact, she really likes them. It usually takes a long time for pandas to try a new food item, but I think 19 years may be a record. Check out our social networks later today to see a video Danica captured this week of Lun Lun chowing down on sweet potato.
Heather R.
Senior Keeper, Carnivores
~~~~~
In today's panda update, Mama Lun Lun decides she'll try (and even decide to like!) a new food item! Heather R. shares,
with a 28 sec. video by Danica W. >
:vid: https://www.facebook.com/ZooATL/videos/ ... 500682283/ 28 sec. (photo in next below post)
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I haven’t worked the giant panda routine for a few weeks, and it has been even longer since I had a chance to train with the cubs on their open-mouth cue. Much to my surprise, Ya Lun opened her mouth right away when asked! For Xi Lun, it took a couple attempts of me asking her and presenting the cue for her to remember what I was asking. She, of course, remembered and opened her mouth big and wide. As I’m sure we have mentioned before, the training we do at the Zoo is to provide the animals the ability to participate in their own health care. We can ask for various body parts or body positioning so we can examine those parts without having to put them under anesthesia, and they get some special food rewards in return.
Shauna
Keeper II, Mammals
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Giant pandas have some of the strongest jaws of all terrestrial carnivores. Their ability to crush through tough bamboo comes from those strong jaw muscles, as well as the location at which the jaw muscles attach. A pandas’ jaw muscles are attached at their sagittal crest. For those of you with dogs at home, this is the long, thin bone or bump at the top of their head. For comparison, human jaw muscles are attached near the temples of our heads, which is just one of the reasons our bite force isn’t as nearly as strong. No matter how cute and harmless they might look, giant pandas pack a big bite, even at a young age. This is why we don’t share spaces with them and treat them with respect for what they are: bears! When you get the chance to watch the giant pandas eat, you can see their ears wiggling and eyes moving while they chew because of the location of those jaw muscles. It’s the most evident when Yang Yang eats because he’s got those big ol’ ears moving around.
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
(Photo by Danica W.)
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. ~ Aristotle
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queenie
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Sat Jan 19, 2019 7:17 pm

1-19 za cub ya lun.jpg
:rh: ^ click 2X biggest
Cubbie Ya Lun vs. Sugar Cane :cloud9:
In a previous post, we mentioned Xi Lun's distaste for sugarcane. We joke in the giant panda building that sugarcane is where pandas harness all of their power from (not true, as it is just an occasional treat), so everyone was a bit surprised to find that she didn't like it. Ya Lun, on the other hand absolutely loves it, and even at her age has no problem crushing through a frozen piece of it. This morning we gave her a piece while Xi Lun was munching away on some bamboo. I think they both enjoyed the time spent enjoying some of their favorite snacks without having to worry about if the item their sister had was better. You know it's a good snack when they close their eyes!
Danica W.
Keeper I, Mammals
https://www.facebook.com/ZooATL/videos/999308250277880/ 33 sec. :vid:
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(Photos from 28 sec. video in previous above post~1/18/19 Update) Danica captured this week of
Mama Lun Lun chowing down on sweet potato (she likes them now & I'm glad she does, they're good for her).
1-19 za lun sweet potatoes.jpg
:D ^ click 2X biggest
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. ~ Aristotle
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:53 pm

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^ click 2X biggest ~ Cool Daddy Yang :wub:
Jen W

January 30, 2019
Wet, icy, wintry weather recently threatened to strike Atlanta for the first time in 2019! Due to anticipation of inclement weather, Zoo Atlanta was closed yesterday, but this didn’t mean the animals were left to fend for themselves! We have a very dedicated animal care team at the Zoo, and neither rain, sleet, snow, sun, or any other weather-related event will keep us from ensuring that the animals receive top-notch care. We are lucky in that there are several animal care professionals who live very close to the Zoo and are able to walk to work if needed when the road conditions aren’t favorable to driving. During days when the Zoo is closed, the animals still maintain their normal schedules of care and feeding. We have fewer team members who come into work on those days, but enough that we can ensure that all routines can still be completed safely. Yang Yang clearly wasn’t fazed by any of this. We hope everyone stayed safe and warm!
Jen W.
Keeper III, Mammals
(photo by Jen W.)
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^ click 2X biggest ~ Idgie Red Panda :rh:
Heather R

January 28, 2019
If you have visited Idgie the red panda in the last year, you will have noticed we made several improvements to her habitat. Recently, we have made some additions that may not be so obvious. A little background first … red pandas are equipped to handle very cold temperatures. They have a very dense undercoat covering their entire bodies, except their faces, but including the pads on their feet. Their outer fur is also about two inches thick. Their tails serve as a blanket for their faces when it gets really cold! Nevertheless, since Idgie is getting older, and we know she has some arthritis (as is typical with senior individuals of many species), we’ve added some ways for her to stay warm, if she so chooses. She now has a heated mat in the enclosed bamboo hut in her habitat and a heating unit in her behind-the-scenes nest box. We installed these just in time for this recent cold snap. So far, in typical Idgie fashion, she still prefers her hay beds to the heated areas. She does like to do everything in her own time and in her own way. However, we were very excited to see that she slept in her heated box when it dropped down into the 20s!
Heather R.
Senior Keeper, Carnivores
(photo by Heather R.)
q. saw her a few times in person years ago ~ she was so active & adorable
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^ click bigger ZA Photo ~ Red Panda Idgie :hug:
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. ~ Aristotle
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:55 pm

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^ click 2X biggest ~ Cubs = Xi Lun & Ya Lun :huggie: :rh:
Danica W
January 23, 2019
Ya Lun and Xi Lun achieved a pretty big accomplishment last week: they participated in their first voluntary blood draws! At Zoo Atlanta, all of our training is voluntary for the animals, and if at any time they don’t want to participate, they don’t have to. We focus on training behaviors with the animals that allow them to participate in their own healthcare, and by training the giant pandas for voluntary blood draws, we are able to monitor their health at an even closer level than the visual checks we do every day.
Training for blood draws takes some time, and the giant panda care team and veterinary team have been working on it for a while. We first acclimate the giant pandas to the sleeve we attach to the exterior of their holding areas (just like any other day, we never share a space with the giant pandas, even while training). After they are comfortable with that, we ask them to place their arm in, turn it over, and hold it there for an extended period of time. In fact, after reaching this step, it is often more difficult to ask the giant pandas to take their arms out, because they have such a good association with the sleeve! They know that they are going to get a lot of yummy rewards while their arm is in position for the blood draw. Next, we bring up our veterinary team and get the giant pandas used to seeing them and their equipment. After some patience and time, we were able to collect a blood sample from both Ya Lun and Xi Lun! They didn’t even seem to notice, and enjoyed the extra leafeater biscuits and time with their care teams.
From not liking sugarcane (Xi Lun still isn’t a fan), to learning and completing complex veterinary behaviors in a matter of weeks, these two continue to surprise us! They are growing up into quite charismatic and smart bears, just like their parents and siblings before them.
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
(photo by Danica W.)
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^ click 2X biggest ZA Photo ~ Mama Lun Lun :grhug:
Are you throwing a party for the big game this weekend? Need some food tips to feed all your guests? Don’t worry. We got you covered. If there’s one thing Zoo Atlanta animals know, it’s food.
Tip 1. Bamboo. You’re going to need a variety of bamboo. Everybody loves bamboo. Better yet, did you know you can buy plates and utensils made out of bamboo? That way you can avoid single-use plastics, you’ll help protect the environment and you can eat your plate when you’re done. Or you can just eat bamboo off your belly like Lun Lun.
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. ~ Aristotle
~ Member since: 08/16/06 with Previous Posts: 4386 ~

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