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 » Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:32 pm

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Amanda D.
September 23, 2020
As mentioned in previous updates, cooler weather means the giant pandas get to spend time in the outdoor habitats. This past weekend it was around the low to mid 60s for most of the day, which meant the giant pandas could spend all day outside! So far, only Yang Yang and the twins have been able to enjoy outside time, because as you probably recall from Danica’s most recent update, Lun Lun is still choosing to spend a majority of her time in the behind-the-scenes den spaces. The other day Yang Yang spent the entire day outside, sleeping on the structure, eating bamboo, and receiving “sky biscuits” (“sky biscuits” refers to when we provide food to the giant pandas from an overlook above their outdoor habitats). While tossing him down food, my aim was a little off so his bamboo did not quite reach him, and the look he gave me was like “Really, Amanda? I was comfortable right here.” I reconciled by tossing him down some of his favorites like sweet potato and apple, and all was forgiven.
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Mon Oct 12, 2020 7:51 pm

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Heather R
October 2, 2020
If you have visited Zoo Atlanta in the morning recently, you may have caught a glimpse of Lun Lun out in the dayrooms or habitats. She is slowly coming out of her pseudopregnancy and is choosing to spend a little time away from her dens. However, she is not quite ready to resume her normal eating and sleeping schedule. Usually, by Noon, she wants to curl back up in her nest box behind the scenes. We expect her behavior to return to normal over the next couple of weeks.
Heather R.
Senior Keeper, Carnivores
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Jen A
October 5, 2020
The other day was a treat for me as it was my first time back on panda routine since before the pandemic began. Since I haven’t seen the pandas in months, I was excited to see each of them and spend a little time with each of them. Yang Yang and the twins were very indifferent about my presence. The twins were just business as usual; that is, they were happy to be fed leafeater biscuits and get some keeper attention. Yang Yang didn’t seem to care one way or another. He participated in training with me, but he definitely kept me on my toes and made sure I remembered what I was doing. Lun Lun was probably the most surprising of the day. She continues to sleep a lot as her hormones return to normal post-pseudopregnancy, but she rewarded Danica and me with a very rare play session (through the mesh, of course). We played tag back and forth through the dens, and she rolled and scattered bamboo and wood shavings all over the place. She even grabbed her paw and shook it several times, which is a typical cub (and Yang Yang) behavior when it comes to play. It was so much fun and a great way to end my day. We didn’t get any video of Lun’s play session, but be sure to visit our social networks later today to enjoy a video I took of Ya Lun and Xi Lun last week.
Jen A.
Keeper II, Mammals
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Mon Oct 12, 2020 7:51 pm

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Danica W
October 7, 2020
Animals, just like humans, have changes in priorities and preferences as they age. As animal care professionals, it is our job to observe our animals and their behaviors to see how they might be adjusting or changing as they get older. Lun Lun and Yang Yang both just turned 23 years old, and are considered older for giant pandas. Lun Lun, having successfully birthed and reared seven cubs, has contributed impressively to the giant panda gene pool. The last few years it has been really interesting getting to know Lun Lun “post-motherhood” and understanding her more as an individual. Her priorities and motivations totally shift when she isn’t responsible for caring for cubs or getting ready to have more, and her true spunk has really shined through. The last few days she has taken a page out of Yang’s book and is soliciting play from her care team. She even recently enjoyed a giant sweet potato, something she didn’t like for over 19 years! It’s important that we give the animals the opportunity to make choices no matter what, because as Lun Lun has demonstrated, things can and do change.
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:00 pm

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Amanda D.
October 19, 2020
Yesterday was a quiet and relaxing day in PandaLand. Danica and I set up one outdoor habitat for Lun Lun, and the other for Xi Lun and Ya Lun. After we were done training with Ya Lun and Xi Lun, we shifted them out to the outdoor space. Xi Lun ate some bamboo, but only briefly, before deciding to curl up and get comfy in the cave. Ya Lun, however, happily ate bamboo and foraged for leafeater biscuits for a while before deciding she was full and ready to join the snooze fest. It seems like Yang Yang and Lun Lun were also on the same page, as Lun went to her favorite spot (the hammock) almost immediately once in the other outdoor habitat. In the dayroom, Yang Yang went to his typical napping spot right up against the glass.
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals

(photo by Amanda D.)
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:05 pm

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Amanda D.
October 14, 2020
With Lun Lun being at the end of her pseudopregnancy, the Panda Care Team is observing a few signs of her returning to normal, such as an increase in appetite while also noting a slight increase in her activity levels (still only slightly, as Lun Lun is still spending more time sleeping than she is eating). With Lun venturing out from the behind-the-dens spaces, this means that guests might have a chance to see all four giant pandas out on habitat. There is a chance, however, you may see a habitat unoccupied while you’re visiting the Zoo because the Panda Care Team also has a behind-the-scenes outdoor habitat that is not viewable to guests where we like to give the bears the option of spending time. As it starts to remain cooler, we will begin to utilize this habitat more. This area is full of naturally growing bamboo, which is great because it gives the bears the opportunity to harvest their own bamboo. If you’re interested, you can find past panda updates that include pictures and videos of the bears spending time in the behind-the-scenes habitat.
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals
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Heather R
October 16, 2020
Last week our Horticulture Team worked in the pandas’ behind-the-scenes habitat to get it panda-ready for the season. Lun Lun was the first to venture out there this week and as usual, she loved it! She spent more time playing than eating. She ran, she pranced, she frolicked! She flung herself into some honeysuckle bushes, rolled around, and tore up some of the vegetation around her. She splashed around in the pool! Danica and I enjoyed Lun Lun’s day as much as she did! If you’re on Zoo Atlanta’s social networks, be sure to check out a video there later today.
Heather R.
Senior Keeper, Carnivores
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by IrishEyes » Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:16 pm

Thanks so much queenie for all your wonderful posts here .. sorry I haven't posted here earlier but I did peek in..

Love the picture of Yang Yang

Hope all is swell with you and yours.. we are well here .. Bev
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HELPFUL HINTS...Be KIND!....Bev...member since 08/04/09

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

Post by queenie » Tue Oct 20, 2020 9:47 pm

Hi & :ty: Bev, So glad you got to see them = Cool Daddy Yang loves to have fun as much the the Cubs, the Luns are getting so big, I'm glad there are 2, to recognize them quickly, and they stay pretty close to each other ~~ and still are so playful together. Little Nat'l Cubbie is 60 days old 40 days to go to His 100 Day Naming Ceremony & he is doing gr8 also. :rh: :pan:
Tub & Structure Playing
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Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Thu Oct 29, 2020 5:06 pm

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Danica W
October 21, 2020
Over the past three years as a member of the Giant Panda Care Team, I’ve really gotten to know the pandas here at Zoo Atlanta and all of their quirky traits. All bear species, not just giant pandas, are full of personality, and each individual has behaviors and mannerisms that make them unique. When I first started working with Lun Lun, she was a full-time panda mom taking care of rambunctious Ya Lun and Xi Lun. During that time, she was a very “down to business” panda, with her sole focus being on making sure her cubs were cared for and that she was eating enough to nurse them. I really got to know Lun Lun as an individual after the cubs were weaned and she had time to be herself and decide how she wanted to spend her days. Some days she feels like sleeping in well past 9 a.m.; other days she is up and ready to go right when we get here. One day she is all about interacting with her enrichment, and sometimes all she cares about is finding the freshest piece of bamboo to devour. She has her favorite sleeping spots, places she likes to kick back and eat, and scents she just can’t help but self-anoint with every time she encounters them. It’s so fun to observe all of the different traits our pandas at Zoo Atlanta have, despite being cared for by the same group of people in the same environment. They are very much like us in the sense that no two individuals are quite the same. Lun Lun is silly, sassy, smart, curious, and so fun to take care of. Between the four of the giant pandas, we definitely never have a dull day around here!
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Thu Oct 29, 2020 5:09 pm

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Amanda D.
October 26, 2020
The giant panda care routine consists of one person in the morning for roughly half an hour before the second person comes in. The opening shift team member makes sure to feed the bears who are up, order bamboo, and set up habitats or dayroom spaces, amongst other tasks, while the closing routine takes two care team members to clean outdoor habitats/inside dayrooms and den spaces, as well as set up each area with enough overnight bamboo so that the pandas have enough until we arrive the next day. Similar to the morning, the closing routine entails a team member finishing out the last half hour by themselves. During this time, I usually feed out whatever remaining leafeater biscuits the bear (or bears) who are behind-the-scenes have left. I like closing because it’s nice to just sit with that individual for a little bit and spend some time with them before heading out for the day. The other day, after feeding out Ya Lun’s and Xi Lun’s last few biscuits, Xi Lun promptly went over to a huge pile of bamboo and started munching away. It was too cute not to get a picture of and share.
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals
(photo by Amanda D.)
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Danica W
October 28, 2020
With the cooler fall weather, we have been able to give the giant pandas their outdoor habitats for longer periods of time. Here at Zoo Atlanta, we have two outdoor habitats that are visible to guests. We also have a “secret” third habitat located behind the scenes. This habitat allows the pandas to enjoy time in a space that most closely resembles their natural habitats. We allow all of the bamboo and plants to grow freely, so the pandas are able to forage, find bamboo they think will be tasty, and harvest it themselves. This is also the habitat our pandas get the most playful in (like the video you may have recently seen of Lun Lun splashing in the pool), and it’s fun to interact with them through the protective barrier while they are up there. We can play “tag,” “chase,” and just run around and have fun while still having a safety barrier between us. They will sprint (well, as much as a panda sprints) up and down the hills, do somersaults, and often get in the pool. The easiest way to find them in this habitat is to look for shaking bamboo that indicates where they might be eating a snack.
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:35 pm

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Danica W
November 2, 2020
Happy Monday, everyone! It is with bittersweet feelings that I share today is my last panda update, and I’m headed for a new adventure up north. Since becoming a Swing Keeper in the Mammal Department in 2015, I have had the pleasure of working with a huge variety of animals. After transitioning to a primary member of the Panda Care Team in 2018, it became clear to me that this was where I would be most fulfilled and able to demonstrate Zoo Atlanta’s mission.
Caring for Yang Yang, Lun Lun, Ya Lun, Xi Lun, and Idgie has been the privilege of a lifetime. Pandas often draw people in based off their obvious cuteness, but their unique personalities and ability to constantly make me smile got me hooked. Regardless of what was going on in the outside world, I could always count on them to make me laugh and keep me on my toes. Pandas are big goofballs and always up to something silly, which I could relate to on a personal level. Also, who doesn’t love constant snacks and naps?
We all know Lun Lun is a supermom, but getting to know her post-motherhood has been such a treat. She is silly, sweet, and so smart. She’s also ridiculous when she wants to be, and as much as it pained me, I chuckled every time she would go through an entire pile of bamboo and individually toss aside the pieces that weren’t “good” enough.
Meeting Ya Lun and Xi Lun at about 7 months old and watching them grow has been a huge highlight for me. They went from little balls of floof to larger balls of floof full of personality. Xi Lun’s coy but confident demeanor is the best, and I will always think of Ya Lun as a little Tonka Truck.
I’ve never been shy about the special place in my heart that will always have a spot for Yang Yang. That kid is the goofiest of them all, and I’ll miss him kicking my butt at Tug of War and the silly yawn noise he makes when he’s waking up in the morning.
Memories of Idgie and her quirks will always make me smile. She was a special one, and grapes will remind me of that little diva forever.
It’s safe to say I’ve got enough memories from my time at Zoo Atlanta to keep me smiling for a lifetime, and I’ve experienced so many neat things. I’ve enjoyed writing these updates the last few years and hope I was able to teach you something new along the way! Please continue to love and support pandas along with all of the animals here at Zoo Atlanta not just for their amazing personalities and uniqueness, but for their important roles in their ecosystems and deservingness they have to be protected in their natural habitats. I may be leaving the Panda Care Team, but I’m hopping on over to your team and will be supporting and cheering on Zoo Atlanta for years to come.
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
{q. you have done such a gr8 job with our pandas, I agree it must be difficult to leave, but we wish you the very best in your future ~ Godspeed with :pan: :rh: }
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Mon Nov 09, 2020 9:41 pm

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Michelle E.
November 6, 2020
People often ask us how to tell Ya Lun and Xi Lun apart, and our go-to answer is to look at their eye markings. Xi Lun has very distinctive eye markings which turn upward in the bottom corners, much like “cat-eye” makeup. This is very useful to us, but there’s a chance it is also useful to giant pandas! A 2008 study sought to discover whether giant pandas have the cognitive skills to tell the difference between the eye markings of other pandas. They began with shapes that were fairly easy to discriminate between and slowly made the challenges more difficult. Eventually, the two juvenile giant pandas in the study were being asked to tell the difference between shapes that closely mimicked giant panda eye markings that were only subtly different from one another, and they excelled! What’s more, they remembered these discriminations when tested again six and twelve months later!
This doesn’t necessarily mean that giant pandas use the eye markings to tell each other apart, but this experiment shows that it is possible. There could be many purposes behind the coloring of those famous panda faces, and every study adds to our knowledge about them. This November, I am thankful for all of the amazing the scientists who seek out knowledge and expand our understanding of the world’s amazing creatures!
Paper Citation: Dungl, E., Schratter, D., & Huber, L. (2008). Discrimination of face-like patterns in the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 122(4), 335–343. https://doi.org/10.1037/0735-7036.122.4.335
Michelle E.
Keeper III, Mammals
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Amanda D.
November 9, 2020
Recently while the Panda Care Team was cleaning the glass that separates the dayroom from one of the outdoor spaces, the twins immediately ran over to investigate what we were up to. Before our presence had caught their attention, they had been playing and chasing each other around in the dayroom, but it only took seconds for Ya Lun and Xi Lun to come over once they knew what we were up to. Both the girls love to jump up and swipe at the squeegee as it goes by, and so we spent a good 15 minutes playing with them before finishing up our task. Ya Lun, who was still in a really playful mood, took the opportunity to catch her sister off guard while she was distracted by the squeegee and jump on her. Check out a video on our social networks later today to see this silly moment!
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals
(photo by Danica W.) < :ty: nice one, so cute!
:vid: https://www.facebook.com/ZooATL/videos/ ... 65662/?t=5 < video 25 seconds~Panda vs. Squeegee & Panda Attack :giggle: OR on Twitter >
https://twitter.com/i/status/1325982439706071041
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Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:24 pm

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Michelle E.
November 13, 2020
Last week, I wrote an update about how research has shown that giant pandas have the ability to distinguish between even very subtly different eye markings, and so may be using those black patches around their eyes as unique “fingerprints” to identify each other. Since then, I have had some other really cool research shared with me.
Researchers working in tandem with our partners in giant panda conservation, the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, have developed an app that puts facial recognition technology to work on giant pandas! They created an algorithm based on 163 photos of 28 giant pandas living at Chengdu. Interestingly, the app currently cannot identify whether something is a giant panda face, but once it knows that’s what it’s looking at, it is able to tell the difference between two individual panda faces. It even works if the giant panda’s face is turned away from the camera a little, or if the panda is eating.
The most exciting part of this comes when considering its practical applications. There are many camera traps set up in the giant pandas’ natural habitat in the wild in China. Scientists analyzing footage from those cameras will be able to take a still shot of the face of a giant panda who has walked by their camera trap and, using this app, compare it to the other wild giant panda face pictures they have been able to obtain with camera traps. That will give them a better estimate of how many individuals are inhabiting the areas they are studying, and better inform population management decisions.
There’s also a fun, not-as-scientific application for this program as well. The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding has said they are going to make it possible for their visitors to use the app to identify the many giant pandas that live at their center! You probably won’t need the app at Zoo Atlanta, though — our four giant pandas are pretty easy to tell apart, and our wonderful Education Guides are always happy to help if you aren’t sure!
Matkowski, Wojciech Michal, et al. “Giant Panda Face Recognition Using Small Dataset.” 2019 IEEE International Conference on Image Processing (ICIP), Sept. 2019, arxiv.org/abs/1905.11163, 10.1109/icip.2019.8803125. Accessed 10 Nov. 2020.
Michelle E.
Keeper III, Mammals
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A Panda Creative Moment Playing Tether-ball Upside Down
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Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Thu Dec 03, 2020 10:43 pm

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Michelle E.
November 23, 2020
Lately I’ve been writing about panda-related research: why giant pandas may have their particular black-and-white patterning and how their eye patches may function as a way to identify one another. Today, though, I’d like to focus on another aspect of pandas: it’s a fact – they’re cute! We are professionals on the Panda Care Team, to be sure, but every single time I care for the pandas, we have multiple instances of melting a little (or a lot) at the undeniable cuteness of these animals.
Xi Lun and Ya Lun were enjoying some outdoor time, and Amanda and I went to check on them. We were walking along discussing our plan for the rest of the day like the professionals we are, when BAM — Xi Lun was asleep in a leaf pile and it was unbearably adorable! We couldn’t help but stop and take photos, which we immediately sent to the rest of the Panda Care Team! Later, we were cleaning one of the indoor dayrooms when Lun Lun came over and put her paw on the window to watch us work, and we just HAD to go over and match our hands to her paw on the glass. Who could resist?
I hope you too are able to take time to stop and appreciate all the cuteness in your lives, whatever form it may take!
Michelle E.
Keeper III, Mammals
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Thu Dec 03, 2020 10:43 pm

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Heather R
November 30, 2020
The Zoo is abuzz with excitement about the arrival of our new red panda, Jackie! Zoo Atlanta teammates and guests alike are already enamored with him. Idgie will always be in our hearts and can never be replaced, but the Panda Team is incredibly happy to have a red panda to take care of again.
Jackie couldn’t be more different from Idgie! Firstly, he is a different sub-species of red panda than Idgie. Jackie is a Himalayan red panda (Ailurus fulgens fulgens), which are found in Nepal, Tibet, India, Bhutan, and Burma. Idgie was a Chinese red panda (Ailurus fulgens refulgens), which is endemic to China and shares habitat with giant pandas. Jackie is also very young at 3 years old. Zoo Atlanta was Idgie’s retirement home and was 8 years old when she arrived here. Jackie is super playful, nimble, and quick! We are still getting used to how fast he moves and finding him in the habitat (don’t forget to look up! Red pandas spend most of the lives in trees!) because he is all over the place. As with most pandas (red or giant), his favorite thing is eating! He gets so excited at his feeding times and eats a lot of bamboo every day. We look forward to getting to know Jackie better over the coming weeks and sharing him with you.
Heather R.
Senior Keeper, Carnivores
(photo by Shauna)
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:ty: Amanda & :pan: & JOY to all ZA^ click 2X biggest, then go to return arrow on top left screen, back to post

Amanda D.
December 2, 2020
With the holiday season here, and the end of the year approaching, I’ve been reflecting on this past year. For starters, I’d like to thank everyone who has supported the Zoo. Whether through a donation or simply by sharing one of our posts on social media, you’ve helped us during a tough year, and words cannot express our appreciation enough for your support. I am also thankful for the opportunity to work with the giant pandas and red panda. Moments where I’m spending one-on-one time with one of the animals I care for, whether it’s training, feeding, or playing tug-of-war or chase, are all moments that fill me with gratitude and have brought me a lot of joy during a challenging year. I hope that wherever you are, you’re able to find some joy during this holiday season. And don’t forget, if you need a pick-me-up, tune into PandaCam where hopefully a dose of panda cuteness will help make you feel better.
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Fri Dec 18, 2020 10:52 pm

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Adrianna L.
December 7, 2020
Hi everyone! My name is Adrianna, and I am somewhat new around here. Way back when, in 2015, I was an intern with the Carnivore and Panda Team and now I’m back! I joined the Zoo Atlanta team permanently in 2017 with our Outback Team, taking care of sheep, goats, and all those jazzy animals, and now I have come back to our Mammal Team as a Swing Keeper! Now I have the cool opportunity to help out in all the areas that care for our lions, giraffes, rhino, warthogs, and giant pandas!
Let me tell you how excited I was to start my training in the giant panda area; boy did I miss these amazing bears! Once my training began, it all came flooding back to me. I remembered how cold it was in the panda building, which after another hot and humid summer in the petting zoo was a welcome relief, and how much I enjoy watching the pandas eat bamboo. After working with a few different animals, it is clear to me that nothing will ever be as good as sitting and watching a giant panda eat bamboo. The way they sit back, bite into a piece of bamboo, tear off the outer culm, and munch on the inner parts of bamboo somehow makes me envious of their snack! Crazy, right? Who would think that I wish I could eat a piece of bamboo just like I would munch on potato chips or baby carrots?! The pandas simply make bamboo seem like the tastiest food on the planet, and I become instantly calmed while watching them enjoy their food. I am so happy to be back with the giant pandas and will savor my time watching them crunch on all the bamboo I can give them!
Adrianna R.
Swing Keeper, Mammals
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Amanda D.
December 9, 2020
The other day Swing Keeper Adrianna pulled out one of Ya Lun and Xi Lun’s favorite enrichment items: the tire swing! Enrichment is an important aspect of the care of all the animals here at the Zoo, with the purpose of providing the animals with physical or mental stimulation and promoting natural behaviors. Once we moved the girls from a behind-the-scenes den space out into the dayroom, they spent a little bit of time foraging for leafeater biscuits, but we knew eventually they would notice the tire swing. Sure enough, they eventually noticed the tire swing and started chasing each other and jumping onto it. We could not stop laughing while watching them climb up on the tire swing and start spinning around. Adrianna quickly pulled out her phone to record a short clip of Ya Lun spinning around on the tire swing so that we could share the fun with you too – be sure to check out the video on our social networks later today!
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Fri Dec 18, 2020 10:52 pm

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Michelle E.
December 11, 2020
Jackie the red panda joined us less than a month ago, but it already feels like we’ve known him forever! He has settled right in and seems very comfortable in his habitat and behind-the-scenes area. He loves to climb high in his tree and uses every part of his habitat. Jackie made quick work of scent marking everything he could to show that this space was his. There are a few different doorways in various sheltered areas of his habitat, including some flaps and a dog-door type entry into the center nesting box, which he took only a day to master. He is very curious about everything and loves playing with enrichment. We are really enjoying getting to know him and seeing him so comfortable in his new home!
Michelle E.
Keeper III, Mammals
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Amanda D.
December 14, 2020
The other morning Adrianna and I set up one outdoor habitat for Ya Lun and Xi Lun and the other for Yang Yang. It was a sunny and beautiful day, barely reaching the mid 60s. Yang Yang enjoyed his morning bamboo. We offered him a newer variety, Rubro, today to see how he liked it, and he immediately started to culm it and then leaf it. The girls ate well too! After foraging for leafeater biscuits and eating some bamboo, they crashed and both slept for most of the morning. Everyone woke up right before lunch time so we tossed down some fresh bamboo. Xi Lun was only up momentarily, however, before deciding that she wasn’t really ready to get up yet and found a comfy location in the habitat where she turned into a panda puddle.
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals
(photo by Amanda D.)
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Sun Dec 27, 2020 8:17 pm

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Adrianna L.
December 16, 2020
If anyone has a sibling, they know how much they love them, but oh can they get on your nerves! Watching the Ya Lun and Xi Lun play this week has been a source of many laughs! My favorite moment has been behind the scenes while we were feeding the twins. We were feeding them leafeater biscuits and bamboo when Ya Lun took a biscuit and then plopped herself right on top of Xi Lun, who was peacefully eating bamboo! Thankfully her sister let her stay there, whereas I would have maybe shoved my sibling away! Hopefully, y’all get a chance to see these goofy sisters doing what they do best!
Adrianna
Keeper II, Mammals
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Michelle E.
December 18, 2020
We talk a lot about how each giant panda in our care is an individual, and nothing highlights that more than their mannerisms while eating! Each bear has their own special quirks that makes them unique.
Lun Lun is extremely picky about her bamboo. When we offer her bamboo one piece at a time, she sniffs it, sometimes will culm it a little to double check her first impressions, and if she does not like it she will pull it into the den with her and toss it to the side, awaiting the next piece-contestant.
Yang Yang loves his leafeater biscuits, but under no circumstances will he make a big effort to find them if they have been scattered around his dayroom. He will flawlessly perform many training behaviors without tiring of receiving biscuits as a reward, but if I put them high up on a log, that’s exactly where they will be the next day. Last week I tested this theory by putting 15 leafeater biscuits in an area he would have to climb to reach. It’s an area that every other giant panda happily climbs to in order to find leafeater biscuits, and while 15 is not a large portion of his diet, it still should have been a tempting amount. However, despite having all night to do it, Yang Yang took a pass on making that effort, and keepers the next day found the biscuits just where I had left them, entirely undisturbed. Of course, he then got to enjoy them his way – offered in a pile easily within reach. The pandas always win!
Xi Lun really takes her time eating leafeater biscuits. She is so much slower than Ya Lun that we often give them to her two at a time. When we do this, she leans back, sometimes to the point of almost lying down, and chews one biscuit while holding the other in her paw. Once she’s finished her first biscuit, she starts taking small bites out of her second biscuit, holding the remains of it in her paw. We love to see if we can get her to take three biscuits at a time so she has to hold one in her mouth and one in each paw! The twins often sit side by side during these feedings, and if they have found a piece of bamboo they both like, they casually steal it back and forth from one another in between biscuits. Sometimes Xi Lun will keep a paw holding onto the bamboo piece while the Ya Lun rips some leaves off. As soon as Ya Lun lets go, Xi Lun pulls it right back to herself!
Ya Lun is an unstoppable biscuit-eating machine! She’s so quick that we break a lot of her leafeater biscuits in half. That way we can ask her to pause and eat some bamboo before receiving the second half of the biscuit. We usually feed Xi Lun and Ya Lun biscuits at the same time. We make sure we have approximately the same amount of biscuits left for each bear because if we ran out of biscuits for Ya Lun first, she would come over and try to steal Xi Lun’s share!
We love watching the pandas express their personalities in all sorts of way. If you have noticed any quirks of personality of the pandas while watching the PandaCam or visiting them at the Zoo, we would love to hear them!
Michelle E.
Keeper III, Mammals
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Sun Dec 27, 2020 8:28 pm

Ya Lun and Xi Lun Together Inside & Outside
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Heather R
December 21, 2020
A question that we hear frequently is “How do animals move from one zoo to another?” It’s actually a complex process involving lots of people, paperwork, emails, phone calls, vet consultations, and, of course, travel arrangements. I’ve been part of two animal transfers in my career. My first one was quite a big one! I accompanied Mei Lan to China when he moved to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in 2010. More, recently, Carnivore Lead Keeper Jenny and I drove to Washington, D.C., to pick up Jackie from Smithsonian’s National Zoo and brought him to Atlanta.
Most of the arrangements for animal transfers are made by our Registrar, which is the person responsible for keeping track of all of our animals. However, I was partially involved in the paperwork process as well since I am the Species Survival Plan’s Institutional Representative for red pandas at Zoo Atlanta. When we sadly lost Idgie earlier this year, I contacted the SSP Coordinator to let her know and discuss our options for bringing another red panda to Zoo Atlanta. Once we chose Jackie, the registrars and veterinarians at each zoo work out the rest of the arrangements according to guidelines provided by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and state (including all states we travel through) and federal laws. This year, different considerations had to be made due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well. The planning took several months.
When Jenny and I left for Washington D.C., we packed the ZooMobile with all of the essentials we might need to take care of Jackie during the 10-hour trip, including a medium-sized dog crate, a water bowl, a food bowl, a gallon of water, and cleaning supplies. Early the following morning, we met his care team at Jackie’s habitat. He went right into the crate voluntarily as he has trained to do so many times! His care team gave us his diet for the day, some bamboo, and his favorite triangle firehose hammock (pictured) to take with us. Jackie traveled well – much better than some of my cats and dogs! We checked on him frequently throughout the drive and made several stops to feed him bamboo, leafeater biscuits, apples, and grapes, refresh his water, and add pine shavings to his crate as needed. Although Jackie was quiet and calm throughout the trip, I’m sure he was as relieved as Jenny and I were to arrive at Zoo Atlanta that evening. Our quarantine care team had set up new his space with lots of perches and shelves for him, which he quickly explored once he left his crate. Even though every animal that transfers from one zoo to another has a veterinary exam prior to moving, they all must go through a quarantine period once they arrive at their new home to ensure they are healthy before they are introduced to their permanent habitat.
After 30 days, we were able to move Jackie to the red panda habitat, where he quickly made himself at home. The Panda Care Team is so excited to have Jackie in our care, but we want to recognize those people that took a lot of time and effort to get him here and those that continue to help us care for him!
Heather R.
Senior Keeper, Carnivores
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Sun Jan 24, 2021 11:31 pm

:vid: https://twitter.com/i/status/1343627356230053892 56 sec
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ZooATL
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:vid: https://twitter.com/i/status/1343625813456007169 54 sec
Dec 28, 2020
Yang Yang's back with another PeachBowl Panda Pick! Who will win this year's game
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Sun Jan 24, 2021 11:42 pm

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Adrianna L.
December 30, 2020
Hopefully everyone has had a terrific holiday season thus far. I know I and the pandas have! I was fortunate enough to spend Christmas morning with Yang Yang, Lun Lun, Ya Lun, Xi Lun and Jackie! While it was a VERY cold day, we made the most of it! Nothing changed in our care, and our routine flowed as it usually does on any normal day, but we did give the animals some extra for overnight! No doubt they felt the same way I did Christmas morning with all the presents, as they barreled through gathering all their favorite pieces! I also know just how incredibly fortunate and grateful we all are here at the Zoo around this time of year. We have appreciated all the support and gifts the Zoo has received, not just around the holidays but throughout the year. Without your help we would not be able to care for our animals or all the animals around the world. So from the Giant Panda Team, Yang Yang, Lun Lun, Ya Lun, Xi Lun and Jackie, thank you!
Adrianna L.
Keeper II, Mammals
An update on a chilly holiday morning + lots of warmth and gratitude for our panda (and red panda!) fans, in today's panda update from Adrianna L: 1:18 PM · Dec 30, 2020·Twitter Web App
https://zooatlanta.org/panda-updates-we ... cember-30/
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Amanda D.
January 4, 2021
When I first walked up to Jackie’s habitat to start cleaning the other morning, he was resting in one of his favorite spots: his triangle perch. But as soon as I entered the habitat, he immediately climbed down and came over to investigate the contents of my bucket. As soon as he realized I didn’t have more food with me (he had already received breakfast), he started to get a case of the zoomies and started running around the habitat. I could not stop laughing as he’d run from one side to the other, occasionally pouncing on the ground. Jackie is so curious, full of energy, and playful. It’s been really great getting to know his personality.
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals
:vid: 2 min. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nj8SFUwsMaQ Red panda Jackie's first day out at Zoo Atlanta Jackie is from Smithsonian’s National Zoo, see Dec 21 update above ^ to see how they transport and animal
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Mon Jan 25, 2021 12:31 am

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Michelle E.
January 6-8, 2021
"A dueling desire to play vs. continue eating?" A game of tug-of-war? Sounds like another day in PandaLand with the Peter Pan of Pandas, Yang Yang! Michelle E. has more in today's panda update ..
Yang Yang had a very playful day recently! We have some tough canvas strips that we use to play tug-of-war with him, so the other day I grabbed one to see if he was interested in a round or two. He was in the behind the scenes dens eating and seemed torn between his dueling desires to play and to continue eating. I tossed his end of the canvas to him, which caught his attention. Normally he grabs onto it with his mouth and uses his extremely strong jaw muscles to pull against us (and eventually win every time). This day, however, he used his paws! He grabbed on with his two front paws and resisted my pulls. He still seemed to be considering whether it was worth pausing his bamboo meal, but every time I pulled a little, he tightened his grip. Eventually he went all in, twisting and pulling with his paws, but thumbs won out over pseudothumbs and in the end, I had finally won a round of tug-of-war against Yang Yang, master of the tug! Don’t worry about his pride, though. When I offered him a rematch, he went back to using his mouth and reclaimed his champion title!
Michelle E.
Keeper III, Mammals
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Amanda D.
January 11, 2021
If you follow our giant panda program, you’ll often hear us talking about the fact that giant pandas are a solitary species, and during your visits to the Zoo, there are a few animals you might see who live alone. Unlike social species such as western lowland gorillas, African lions, meerkats and more, solitary species do not live in groups and do not necessarily seek out or even enjoy the company of their own species. Besides giant pandas, other examples at Zoo Atlanta include Sumatran tigers and red panda. Once giant pandas reach sub-adulthood, they will go off on their own, and then will come together briefly during breeding season. Ya Lun and Xi Lun have not reached sexual maturity (giant pandas reach sexual maturity at around 5 to 6 years old), so they still share the same space, but eventually, they will reach a point where they will start to view each other as resource competition – all a natural progression for a solitary species. Right now, though, they are still happily eating and playing together, so the Panda Care Team is making sure to capture these cute sibling moments!
(photo by Amanda D.)
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Mon Jan 25, 2021 12:58 am

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Michelle E.
January 13, 2021
The giant pandas amaze me all the time, but one of the aspects I am most incredulous (and jealous) of is their ability to find a comfortable resting place wherever they are. While monitoring PandaCam, we see the giant pandas fast asleep or relaxing in all sorts of uncomfortable-looking contortions or perches. They sleep balanced on top of logs, curled up on rocks, or splayed out on the ground. Recently I found Xi Lun in yet another resting position that only a panda could love – tucked into her half barrel toy, happily munching away on some bamboo. I guess when you are as fluffy as a giant panda, the whole world is a comfortable bed!
Michelle E.
Keeper III, Mammals
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q. had to show the original ZA photo of it :rh:
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Heather R
January 15, 2021
Red pandas are arboreal, meaning they spend most of their time in trees. They are perfectly adapted for life in the trees. Their long tails help them balance as they walk across branches. Their ankles are extremely flexible and their arm bones can rotate on their axis to allow red pandas to climb down trees headfirst!
For the last two years of her life, we had to restrict Idgie’s access to her tree because of her mobility issues, so we outfitted her habitat with ramps and raised platforms so she could still feel like she was up high without needing to be agile to climb. She loved her new habitat. However, her care team grew accustomed to looking for her in the hut or up on one of the walkways when we checked on her throughout the day. Now that Jackie is here, we often forgot to look up in the tree when we are looking for him! He loves to nap in one of the highest points of the tree. So, when you are visiting Jackie and can’t find him, don’t forget to look up!
Heather R.
Senior Keeper, Carnivores
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Mon Jan 25, 2021 1:09 am

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Adrianna L.
January 20, 2021
I know when I first started working with the giant pandas, bamboo was simply bamboo, and it all looked yummy enough for me if I were a giant panda. Oh man, work a day with these giant pandas, and you will quickly learn that is not the case! It is incredible how what we may think looks like the perfect piece of bamboo is just sort of tolerable. The giant pandas will eat not only different species of bamboo during different seasons, but also different parts of the bamboo. Currently we are seeing a good mix of them eating the leaves and the culms (the main stalk of the bamboo). A big part of what they will eat depends on if the bamboo is younger or older. Young bamboo will have yummy leaves, and older bamboo will have yummy culms. We care team members and our Bamboo Team can visually check to see what the pandas may prefer, but unfortunately, they have one sense that is way better at detecting this: their sense of smell! Giant pandas have an amazing sense of smell and will hold the bamboo in front of their noses to decide if that piece of bamboo is worth it. So, try as we might by looking at the leaves, the culms, and what type of bamboo we offer, we will never be able to smell out the perfect piece of bamboo the giant pandas want. Luckily, we have a great Bamboo Team to bring us all sorts of bamboo that our giant pandas love!
(photo by Adrianna L.)
Adrianna L.
Keeper II, Mammals
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Michelle E.
January 22, 2021
We talk a lot about the giant pandas “culming” bamboo, but what does that actually mean? Well, technically, nothing! “Culming” is a word we have made up for this behavior; you won’t find it in reference to giant pandas in any dictionary. However, in giant panda parlance, “culming” or “to culm” means to split apart the culm, or woody stem, of the bamboo in order to eat the whitish-yellow inner layer. The giant pandas do this by biting the end of a bamboo culm and tearing downward with their mouths. Typically this method removes a piece of culm that is approximately a foot long and an inch wide. The giant panda then engages its pseudothumb on a front paw to hold the piece while using its mouth to remove the green outer layer of the culm. They spit that green layer onto the floor or their bellies and begin eating the whitish-yellow inner culm that is left behind, still holding it in one paw and taking bites out of it like it’s beef jerky. Despite having done all that work to get that inner layer of culm, the giant pandas rarely eat the entire piece. At a point determined only by the secret knowledge they seem to possess about what bamboo is most nutritious, the giant pandas drop the piece of culm they have been eating and grab the original bamboo stalk to tear off another piece and begin the process all over again!
This picture shows a piece of bamboo that has been partially culmed. The giant panda who was eating this piece likely tore off two strips of culm and went through the process of splitting them before deciding the bamboo wasn’t nutritious enough to continue eating and moved on to another piece. You can see a couple pieces of that whitish-yellow stripped-down inner culm on the mulch near the bamboo- those are what is left behind after a giant panda has split apart the layers of culm, eaten some of the inner culm, and then dropped it on the ground.
Michelle E.
Keeper III, Mammals
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Sun Jan 31, 2021 9:36 pm

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Adrianna L.
January 25, 2021
Lately it has been pretty funny to see what Ya Lun and Xi Lun do when we shift them into a new area. Typically, when they go into a set-up area with fresh bamboo and leafeater biscuits everywhere, Ya Lun books it to eat all the biscuits, whereas Xi Lun takes her time and may eat a few biscuits but is there for the bamboo. Well, lately we have been surprised as Ya Lun plops down next to a pile of bamboo and digs in while her sister is attacking the feeder toys in the corner, finding all those yummy biscuits! It never gets old watching these girls!
Adrianna L.
Keeper II, Mammals
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Amanda D.
January 27, 2021
Every morning, the Panda Care Team checks on all of the giant pandas, as well as Jackie the red panda. We have cameras set up that allow us to see each individual in dayrooms which are not visible from behind the scenes. When I’m checking in on Jackie, I will swing by his habitat and bring him his breakfast. Early one morning, as I approached his habitat, I saw that he was resting in his favorite perch that is attached to a tree in his habitat. As you might recall reading from recent updates, red pandas are arboreal, meaning they spend a lot of time in trees. It’s amazing watching Jackie climb so quickly and move from branch to branch with such ease. As I entered with his breakfast, he peeked his head out and quickly realized I had brought his food. Within seconds, he had made his way down from the tree and was eating his breakfast. I’m glad I had the chance though to pull out my phone and get this picture of him in his perch. Seeing his cute face is always a great way to start the day.
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Sun Jan 31, 2021 9:45 pm

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Heather R
January 29, 2021
I hope you all don’t mind that we are posting so much about Jackie lately. But, since he’s new to us, we are still learning about him and seeing new things from him every day. We have mentioned before that Jackie is very active right now, as is expected, being winter and red panda breeding season. He spends most mornings patrolling his habitat and scent-marking everything in his path. Sometimes when he is so lively in the mornings, we can engage him in a play session. However, sometimes he is too busy doing red panda things and ignores us, which is fine, too.
Play is one of the ways that we use to elicit Jackie’s natural behaviors such as lunging, standing on hind legs, batting, biting, and wrestling. Although red pandas are naturally solitary, there are situations where they need to have social skills to communicate and interact with other red pandas effectively. They learn these skills from their mothers and siblings during infancy through social play.
Social play provides many benefits throughout a red panda’s lifetime. It gives them an outlet for excess energy, which is especially important for young animals. Play allows individuals to learn how hard they can bite or swat via feedback from their play partner. Bite inhibition is an essential skill later in life for successful mating interactions. Social play also teaches young pandas how to defend themselves. You can see Jackie rear up on his hind feet in the video. This is a defensive posture and intended to make himself look big and scary. Self-defense is a crucial survival skill. Social play also provides opportunities to use and exercise muscles that may not get used as often during typical daily activities.
When we engage Jackie in social play, we use toys as a substitute for a play partner. We humans are not an appropriate substitute for a play partner because we do not have thick fur to protect us from the strength of his bites, grabs, and swats. Jackie particularly enjoys playing with balls because he can chase them as they roll away and pounce on them when he catches up.
Jackie also finds ways to play by himself. He loves wrestling with the foliage in his habitat! We often see him racing around the habitat on the ground and through the tree and ramps. He’s so quick it is hard to catch him on camera. Taking care of Jackie has definitely been a new learning experience for us all after caring for two older red pandas for the past 12 years.
Be sure to check out a video on Zoo Atlanta’s social networks later today!
Heather R.
Senior Keeper, Carnivores
q I think Jackie is sensitively adorable and seems to be settling in well.
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Thu Feb 11, 2021 7:54 pm

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Megan H.
February 1, 2021
Hi everyone! My name is Megan, and I am one of the new primary keepers on the Panda Care Team. I thought I would use my first Panda Update to introduce myself!
I have been at Zoo Atlanta since 2018, when I started as an intern with the Carnivore and Panda Teams. Following my internship, I was fortunate enough to get hired on with our Ambassador Animals Team. I was a primary keeper in our Outback Station area caring for our goats, sheep, alpacas, pigs, and other varying species. I had a blast spending a few years there, but when the opportunity came to apply for a position with the Panda Team, something about the move felt right for me. I’m so glad I went for it! Many parts of routine are very similar to when I was last in this area, so it was nice to pick some things right back up. However, there are also several things that are different and new for me, making it all very exciting!
How have things been going since I started? I have loved seeing some of Yang Yang’s goofy antics again. Lun Lun has been very patient with me as I have been learning. Ya Lun and Xi Lun have grown since I was last with them, and I am continuing to pick up on both of their very distinct personalities. Jackie the red panda has been an absolute delight! Watching him run around has been the highlight of many a morning for me so far. I am incredibly grateful to be here, and I look forward to sharing more things with you all in future updates. Stay tuned!
Megan H.
Keeper I, Mammals
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Michelle E.
February 3, 2021
Today’s panda update is taking you behind the scenes of our behind-the-scenes tours!
The Giant Panda Care Team has been preparing for a new way for you to learn about the giant pandas with us: Virtual Wild Encounters! In a more normal time, we have in-person Wild Encounters in which guests receive a tour of the giant panda building, observe a training session, and get to feed a panda some leafeater biscuits. While we await those normal times again, the Education Team has been brainstorming with us to bring that experience to the comfort of your couch! It has taken a lot of meetings, checking for the best camera angles, and re-arranging the order of segments. We had to decide: Should we show off the bamboo cooler or the diet kitchen first? When should we bring in the panda for a training session? What is the best way for you to ask us questions over Zoom as we carry a fancy camera-stabilizing pole around the building? Do the giant pandas really need a ring light when they are already so cute? Well, we think we’ve answered these, and we truly did buy a ring light so you can see the giant pandas better on camera!
Registration opened recently and we are excited to host our first Virtual Wild Encounters! We have been rehearsing so that you hopefully have a smooth experience, but please “bear” with us as we will inevitably make all the common Zoom mistakes at some point in this process. It has been a long time since we have been able to have these fun interactions with guests, and we are really looking forward to virtually meeting you!
Michelle E.
Keeper III, Mammals
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Thu Feb 11, 2021 8:08 pm

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Adrianna L.
February 8, 2021
Have you ever found yourself playing around with your sibling or friends and finally crashing and being completely beat? Well that is definitely what happened to Ya Lun recently! Ya Lun and Xi Lun were in one of the dayrooms right after lunch and were playing around with each other, barreling from one end to another. Once they were ready, we let them behind the scenes and they came in huffing and puffing like they just ran a marathon! We got them into one of the dens with some bamboo to eat while we cleaned and re-set the dayroom, but Ya Lun was just too tired to eat. We found her splayed out trying to catch her breath and just generally being really cute! Be sure to try to catch some of their rambunctious playing on PandaCam!
Adrianna L.
Keeper II, Mammals
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Jenny E.
February 5, 2021
I always love my days in pandas, but nothing makes the days start out so perfectly as when Yang Yang is in an attention-grabbing, playful mood. Early this morning I was at the red panda habitat, and while there, the other team members gave Yang Yang access to his behind-the-scenes outdoor patio. As I was coming down the driveway, he let me know loudly that he was there by his boisterous, “Hey you! Come feed me!” (my loose interpretation) bleat. He had climbed his ladder and was trying to peer around the corner to catch my attention, which he got, of course. We both ran inside together and met at the barrier at his inside dens, where he and I proceeded to run back and forth, getting him so excited that he started doing his famous somersaults and pouncing. I am so grateful to be able to have these special moments with such an amazing animal, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Jenny E.
Lead Keeper, Carnivores
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Fri Feb 12, 2021 10:48 pm

:vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHlq9xzvoww 2/12/21 ~ Up We Go ~ 3.33 min.
Valentine's Day weekend, twins having fun playing together. :woohoo:
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^ click 2X biggest, then go to return arrow on top left screen, back to post ~ checking out scenting on the branch
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^ click 2X biggest, then go to return arrow on top left screen, back to post ~ Yin & Yang
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Mon Mar 01, 2021 8:27 pm

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Michelle E.
February 12, 2021
If you read our #KeeperStories and blogs regularly, you likely know that we do a lot of training around the Zoo. The animals are trained using positive reinforcement, which means we give them something they like, usually a preferred food, when they do the behavior we’ve asked them to do. It’s completely voluntary, so it’s up to the animal if they want to come over to us for a training session when we call them or if they would rather keep taking a nap! I mean, we get it. Who doesn’t love a good nap?
Jackie the red panda arrived at Zoo Atlanta last year already knowing more than 15 behaviors, including “target” (putting his nose to our fist), “up” (standing on hind legs so we can see his underside), and “crate” (walking into a crate for transport). He is a talented guy! However, that doesn’t mean it’s time to rest on his laurels. Learning new behaviors is an enriching mental challenge for both the animals and their care teams!
As part of our continuing professional development, all animal care professionals at Zoo Atlanta take courses on animal training and are assigned a training mentor. I am lucky enough to be the mentor of Panda Care Team member Amanda, who is training a new behavior with Jackie, “sit.” Jackie is a very active red panda, and sometimes we need him to stay still for just a moment so we can do a close inspection of his body. The “sit” behavior asks Jackie to sit calmly with his bottom on the ground. As Amanda’s mentor, my job is to observe her training sessions with Jackie and provide feedback.
It’s still in the early stages, but things are going well so far! Both Amanda and Jackie are doing great! Amanda is using a method called “capturing,” which means that she does a normal training session and if Jackie happens to sit down, she reinforces him with grapes. He seems to be starting to make the connection between sitting and receiving grapes, because he is sitting more often during Amanda’s training sessions. When he sits, Amanda says “sit” and does the hand cue she made up for the behavior so he begins to associate those cues with sitting. Over time, she will be able to predict when he is about to sit and get the cue ahead of the behavior so he is reacting to the cue by sitting rather than the cue being a reaction to his “sit” as it is currently.
These training sessions occur in the red panda habitat, so you may get to witness one sometime! During the session it is a little hard to chat as we are concentrating hard on analyzing behavior in real time, but afterward we are always happy to answer questions. We hope to see you soon!
Michelle E.
Keeper III, Mammals
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:vid: https://twitter.com/i/status/1363997493957193730 15 sec VIDEO
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Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Mon Mar 01, 2021 8:40 pm

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Adrianna L.
February 15, 2021
Since I started training here in the giant panda area, we have been talking and preparing for our Virtual Giant Panda Wild Encounters, and we finally had our first one! In this photo, you can see some of us participating in a practice encounter. While were a little nervous, it turned out that all our hard work was worth it! The encounter went swimmingly! We all became master camera operators, Zoom geniuses, and gained the skills of influencers as we set up ring lights! We were so fortunate to show off our new skills to some amazing guests who we talked with one-on-one as we gave them a virtual tour of our panda building. We were excited to once again show the behind-the-scenes aspect of our panda program here at Zoo Atlanta. Since it was a virtual personal tour, the participants were able to ask us loads of questions, see some of our pandas all to themselves, and get a taste of what it takes to care for these giants. I cannot wait to do more of our Virtual Panda Wild Encounters and hope to see some of y’all too!
(photo: Jenny E.)
Adrianna L.
Keeper II, Mammals
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Adrianna L.
February 22, 2021
On occasion we might switch things up and you will see a red flash on PandaCam rather than a black-and-white figure. That’s because we want to feature the other panda, Jackie the red panda! Like I said, though, it may just be a flash, and that’s because he can be incredibly active from time to time! We frequently see him zooming around all over his habitat and being the active young red panda that he is! My favorite is when we spot him climbing up his tree all the way to the tippy top! Red pandas are arboreal, meaning they spend most of their time high up in the trees. So if you can’t see Jackie while he is on PandaCam, he is either zooming around or has climbed to the tippy top of his tree.
Adrianna L.
Keeper II, Mammals
Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? ~ ASV Matt. 6:26
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