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 » Mon May 06, 2019 8:09 pm

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Jen W
May 3, 2019
*Sings* :%: It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Nope, not the holidays! Bamboo shoot season! We’ve mentioned it a lot lately, but words cannot accurately describe how much easier life is with giant pandas when you have delicious, juicy, sugary bamboo shoots! Since the shoots are packed with so much water and sugar, the bears gorge themselves hard and then crash even harder for their many naps! Weight-wise, we are still offering the pandas the same amount of food, but they eat all of it so they are full for longer periods of time. This has given the team some much-needed project time to work on personal goals or other tasks, like prepping for The Beastly Feast tomorrow! This is our annual black-tie gala event that also happens to be one of biggest fundraising events to help promote Zoo Atlanta’s conservation mission. As this is such an important event, teams all across the Zoo are spending extra time (which is precious to us!) making the habitats and spaces looking their best. For the Panda Care Team, this is hard to do when the bears are being their typical picky selves. Thankfully, Beastly Feast and shoot season overlap, so it makes things a lot easier for us. The bears don’t care, though. They’re just beyond happy to be eating shoots!
Jen W.
Keeper III, Mammals
(photo by Jen W.)
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Danica W
May 6, 2019
Things have been pretty quiet with the giant pandas lately (bamboo shoots mean full, sleepy pandas and extra project time for the care team), but I did recently observe Ya Lun and Xi Lun during a pretty long self-anointing session. This is a natural behavior for giant pandas, and one we are seeing more frequently from the girls now that they are sub-adults. They seem to be taking after Yang Yang, with their apparent current favorite scent being Tabasco sauce. The best part is that if one sister rolls in the scent, the other sister then tries to self-anoint with her rather than the scent on the ground or the enrichment item. They generally end up rolling around on top of each other, with a fluffy panda head popping up every once in a while.
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
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Going After Nice Boo Today ~ 5/6/19 :cloud9:
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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 May 13, 2019 8:58 pm

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Jen W
May 8, 2019
One thing you all might have noticed from your visits to Zoo Atlanta or the pictures we have shared is that the outdoor habitats, dayrooms and behind-the-scenes night areas all look pretty empty during bamboo shoot season! Without all that extra “fluff” of bamboo leaves, when we offer the bears the equivalent weight of bamboo shoots, it looks like nothing compared to that same weight in bamboo! It’s just another short-lived perk of shoot season – a season that unfortunately only lasts about a month in Georgia!
Jen W.
Keeper III, Mammals
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5/13/19~Go Thru Tunnel~Eat Shoots~Then Read Your Email/Scent Message
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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 May 13, 2019 9:01 pm

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Danica W
May 13, 2019
Giant pandas have been around for thousands of years. Some of the biggest threats that giant pandas face today, such as habitat fragmentation, didn’t become a problem until the agricultural and land development splurge in the last hundred years or so. Up until the late 1800s, little was known about giant pandas or their behavior. They are an extremely elusive carnivore often on the search for a new patch of bamboo. Their historical natural range didn’t have them coming into contact with humans often at all. It took a lot of effort and determination for researchers to collect some of the first pieces of data we have on giant pandas in their natural habitats. It’s crazy to think that despite being a well-known and recognized species across the world and all cultures, it wasn’t until recent years that we really started getting a grasp on giant panda behavior *. As a matter of fact, their entire genome even wasn’t sequenced until 2010!
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
(photo by Danica W.)
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q. I for one am so thankful
* ^ from this update = really started getting a grasp on giant panda behavior
we have gotten to know their adorable behavior :hug: :rh: :pan:
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They are still enjoying this wonderful period of bamboo shoots, pandas love so much, but one is busy sending/scenting a message on a log {one of their behaviors = perhaps like working on just the right email for Mom on their b-log :giggle: } while the other finds just the right shoot

Shoots & Scents
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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 May 13, 2019 11:07 pm

Glad ZA put this 30 second-video {with sound} of Xi Lun & Ya Lun enjoying their bamboo shoots :bravo:

:vid: 30 sec. https://www.facebook.com/ZooATL/videos/ ... =2&theater
:hooray:
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There's a lot of chewing going on over in Pandas during bamboo shoot season! (video courtesy of Danica W.) #ZAPandas #OnlyZooATL
Like Shauna mentioned in the last update, bamboo shoot season is upon us! We all (humans and giant pandas alike) love shoot season because the pandas are able to eat their fill and get a lot of naps in. Unlike other animals that primarily eat leaves, giant pandas don't have the capability to grind up plant matter without chomping their jaws up and down. A few of our Wild Encounter Guides here at Zoo Atlanta actually taught me a cool trick to feel the difference in our jaw musculature versus a giant panda's, and you can try it right at home! Place your hand on top of your head and pretend you're chewing something. You won't feel much movement in your hand because our jaw muscles are attached near our temples. If you were a giant panda, you'd feel a lot of muscle movement on top of your head because their jaw muscles are attached at their sagittal crest. It's that jaw musculature that gives them the power to crunch through bamboo, but it also causes them to be unable to quietly grind leaf matter like other leaf-eating animals. I don't know about you all, but I think they're still pretty cute despite being loud and "smacky" chewers!
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
:nite:
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 May 23, 2019 5:05 pm

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Danica W
May 20, 2019
We recently tried some new enrichment in our behind-the-scenes area for the giant pandas. One of the most challenging and rewarding parts of being an animal care professional is trying to constantly think of novel and engaging enrichment for the animals in our care. Since we can’t offer a new item every single day, this often means re-purposing some of our existing items and offering them in new ways. If you follow the Zoo Atlanta pandas, then you have seen the hammock that is usually hanging up in one of our dayrooms. You probably also know that the pandas all love it, and will spend time eating, resting, and playing on it. We are lucky enough to have two hammocks, so we thought it would be fun to offer one behind the scenes for the first time. So far Lun Lun and Yang Yang have both had access to the hammock, and both seem to be enjoying it. Lun Lun is more interested in using it as a table for her bamboo shoots, but Yang Yang is taking full advantage of his new lounging spot.
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
(photo by Danica W.)
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Jen W
May 22, 2019
Hanging the extra hammock in one of the behind-the-scenes dens has been a huge hit with the adult giant pandas. You recently saw a picture of Yang Yang snoozing away; well, here you can see a picture of Lun Lun passed out after gorging herself on bamboo shoots. She looks really relaxed! The twins got to see the hammock hung a couple of nights ago, but they were a little unsure of the new change to their behind-the-scenes area and were not completely enthralled and in love with it as their parents were. This isn’t too surprising, as giant pandas are notorious for being wary of anything that’s new. The twins did sleep in the hammock overnight, or at least we think they did because someone defecated in it, but while the team was in the building we didn’t see much interaction from the twins. Oh well, at least the adults seemed appreciative!
Jen W.
Keeper III, Mammals
(photo courtesy of Jen W.)
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 JudyB » Thu May 23, 2019 5:41 pm

Thank you so much for all the updates, queenie - I don't post as much as I should, but do love hearing what the pandas are doing! :love:

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

Post by queenie » Thu May 23, 2019 9:12 pm

Hi Judy, Thank you, I am glad you enjoy them too ~ this panda family has been so fascinating to me over the years ~ and Ya Lun & Xi Lun are still so playful & entertaining together ~ lil' huggie bears. :pan: :huggie: :pan:
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 May 30, 2019 2:50 pm

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Danica W
May 29, 2019
Just as quickly as shoot season arrived, it is officially over. Bamboo shoots are seasonal, arriving in the spring/early summer, and we fed the giant pandas the last of our supply a few days ago. We have begun offering mature bamboo again, more specifically a species called yellow groove (Phyllostachys aureosulcata). The pandas are slowly but surely realizing we have no shoots to offer, and have gone back to culming and leafing the mature pieces of yellow groove we are giving them. This period of transition is expected each year, and is something we all prepare for. Here in Georgia, there are about 200 species of bamboo that grow abundantly, but the giant pandas seem to favor about eight of those species. Before shoot season we were offering Henon bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra Henon) so we switched it up and are offering yellow groove because it is something they haven’t had in a while. The novelty of the new bamboo type is working in our favor, and they’re back to crunching away between naps.
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
(photo courtesy of Danica W.)
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glad we got to see them enjoying their shoots, the whole season :grhug: :rh: :pan:
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 Jun 18, 2019 5:25 pm

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Jen A
June 12, 2019
Hi everyone! It’s been a while since my last update, and in wracking my brain on what comings and goings have been happening in PandaLand, I have realized that a pretty important detail has been left out. Don’t worry – all is well with the pandas. They have adjusted well after the end of bamboo shoot season, and everyone is happily munching away on bamboo. But I do have some bittersweet news to share. After 8.5 years of working as a primary caregiver on our Panda Care Team, Jen W. is leaving us — an “extended vacation” as she likes to call it. While we’re all really excited for Jen’s new adventures, we’re going to miss her a lot. But never fear! Although we will never be able to fill Jen’s shoes, those of us on the meat-eating side of our team are excited to spend more time with the pandas until we welcome a new member to the Panda Care Team.
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 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:27 pm

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Danica W
June 14, 2019
It is important that the animals here at Zoo Atlanta have positive relationships with all members of their care teams. This is why we put such a strong emphasis on giving the animals choice and control over their days, as well as the option to voluntarily participate in their training. Due to the medical nature of some of our trained behaviors, it is equally as important that the animals have positive relationships with the Veterinary Team here at the Zoo. Through positive reinforcement training and relationship-building with the giant pandas, we can perform voluntary blood draws, ultrasounds, etc., all while the giant pandas are awake and choosing to participate. Today, Dr. Kate and one of our veterinary technicians, Carla, came over to complete a laser therapy session with Idgie. We had to walk through the giant panda building after we were done, so they both got the chance to stop by and say hello to Yang Yang while he waited for his dayroom to be cleaned. We regularly have the Veterinary Team come up just to see the pandas and spend time with them, so when it comes time for procedures the pandas recognize them as familiar and safe faces. When Dr. Kate walks in, Yang Yang always perks right up, comes over to the mesh to see her, and is very content as she feeds him leafeater biscuits or produce. Through his body language (ear posturing, body position, and eye orientation), we’ve seen time and time again that he has a positive association with Dr. Kate and enjoys seeing her. It makes us happy that he has such a great relationship with one of his vets, and we know Dr. Kate loves it as well.
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 Jun 18, 2019 5:28 pm

Happy Father's Day to all People Fathers & Panda Daddys like our Daddy Yang, Daddy Tian, & Daddy Gao (< Gao now in China) ~ Daddy Yang Celebrating Father's Day > :rh: :pan:
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Danica W
June 17, 2019
It’s crazy to think that in a few short months Ya Lun and Xi Lun will be 3 years old. They’ve each grown into their big personalities and we are still learning new things about them all the time. Recently, we have been spending time focusing on training with each of them. We have trained with them in the past, but as two growing bears, their main focus was always finding the next bite of bamboo. This is still a big priority of theirs, but they are able to focus for longer periods of time during training sessions. Right now, we are training them for behaviors that will help us monitor their health daily. These behaviors include things like opening their mouths so we can look at their teeth and presenting their paws.
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
(photo by Danica W.)
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 Jun 25, 2019 9:17 pm

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Danica W
June 21, 2019
We often get asked why giant pandas sit the way they do when they eat. When the pandas are kicked back enjoying bamboo, they either look extremely comfortable, or extremely uncomfortable (by human standards). Regardless of how it may appear, the pandas make sure they’re comfortable before they start eating. The reason that giant pandas are able to sit the way they do while they consume bamboo is in part due to their unique pseudothumbs. This modified wrist bone provides them the capability to reach out to grab their food, which other members of the bear family are not as capable of. For this reason, you’ll often see other bears eating while on all four paws, or sitting down in a similar position as your dogs or cats at home.
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
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Additional Comfortable Panda-Eating-Positions :out:
1. One against a pole 2. One leaning against the wall
3. One lying back against a low slanted pole & One semi-kicking back against a straight pole 4. Two = combo-against-wall & each other :huggie: :cloud9: >
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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 Jul 23, 2019 6:53 pm

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Amanda D.
July 22, 2019
My name is Amanda, and I recently joined the Panda Care Team here at Zoo Atlanta! I started as a Hoofstock Intern in May of last year. Three months later I was given an opportunity to be a Seasonal Hoofstock Keeper. I worked with the giraffes, warthogs, ostriches, zebras and muntjac. After my seasonal position ended, I spent some time working in our Small Primate Department. Experiencing multiple departments allowed me to grow as a keeper and diversify the animals I have worked with. In July of this year I found out some great news – I would be joining the Zoo Atlanta team as a primary keeper in giant pandas! As I continue training and getting the routine down, I’m also spending some time getting to know each of the giant pandas, as well as the red panda, Idgie. In this short time I’ve already been able to observe their unique personalities, and I look forward to learning more about them!
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals
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Danica W
July 19, 2019
All animals’ physical and behavioral traits adjust to make them best suited to their native environments. Animals who live in cold areas have thick fur to keep them warm, and semi-aquatic animals have traits that make them agile and quick swimmers. So, how could a panda’s black-and-white fur pattern possibly help them blend into green bamboo forests? For starters, you have to think about how bamboo grows. It shoots up extremely quickly in dense patches, with leaves near the top of the culm creating a shadowed canopy below. When you walk deep into a bamboo forest, it’s surprisingly dark with patches of light, and the black-and-white coloration of giant pandas helps them blend in extremely well while they are kicked back eating bamboo. We see it firsthand in our behind-the-scenes habitat that the bears have access to over the winter and spring months. We let the bamboo grow freely in this habitat, and the pandas are able to enter and harvest their own meals. Often times they are extremely difficult to see, and the best way to find them is to look for shaking bamboo that indicates where they might be hanging out.
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 Jul 23, 2019 6:56 pm

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Jen A
July 17, 2019
We’ve officially headed into the heat and humidity of middle summer in Atlanta. This means that animal care teams all over the Zoo are busy ensuring that the animals are staying comfy and cool in addition to our regular responsibilities. But in PandaLand, that means something different for the Panda Care Team. As we move further into summer, we are starting to see a change in activity patterns for the giant pandas. They’re eating a little less and sleeping a little more. This offers a nice change of pace for our team and allows us to spend a little more time on other aspects of our jobs like building enrichment, professional development, and planning future habitat modifications.
Jen A.
Keeper II, Mammals
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Danica W
July 8, 2019
Utilizing positive reinforcement training for veterinary behaviors is a huge part of how we are able to provide amazing care for the animals at Zoo Atlanta, as well as enable the animals to participate in their own care. In the giant pandas’ indoor area, there is a mobile but secure space that allows us to access the giant pandas from all sides. In this area, we are able perform voluntary ultrasounds and other veterinary exams safely. When not in use, this training area resides in a portion of the pandas’ behind-the-scenes area, so that they are comfortable seeing and walking through it every day. The only time they are completely inside of it is during training, and they have a very positive association with it! Generally, we don’t even have to ask for behaviors and the pandas get in position and wait for leafeater biscuits all on their own. Their comfort and voluntary participation in this training is vital, and it’s also fun and educational for the Panda Care Team.
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Ya Lun & Xi Lun Around the Den :hug:
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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 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:55 pm

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Amanda D.
August 7, 2019
We get a weight on each of the giant pandas twice a day (They are both currently about 60 kg). For the twins, we will put a piece of sweet potato and a piece of apple on the scale and ask each sub-adult to come in one at a time. As you might already know, Xi Lun is not a fan of sweet potato, so she will get on the scale and only consume the apple slice. This allows us to get a weight on Xi Lun and then once she’s off the scale, we let Ya Lun in to get her weight. Well, after we get a weight on each of the twins, we spend time ensuring that they each get a set amount of their diet before placing the rest of it out into the dayroom. And just as you might recall concerning Xi Lun’s distaste of sweet potato, she’s never been a huge fan of sugarcane either. Well, that changed today as Keeper Danica offered her a piece and she grabbed it and proceeded to eat it! Looks like Xi Lun might have an interest in it after all!
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals
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Danica W
August 5, 2019
Giant pandas are selective about their bamboo, but it is for a good reason. They have adapted to eat bamboo despite their carnivorous digestive system, so they need to make sure that the pieces they are consuming are giving them more energy than they are expending. They fully digest about 30 percent of the bamboo they consume, and depending on the time of year will culm (eat the outer layer) or eat leaves from the bamboo. There are several theories as to why giant pandas pick certain parts of the bamboo, but it is commonly believed that they are smelling for starch or protein content. Recent research argues that giant pandas, like other carnivores, get most of their energy from protein. This would explain why they have the digestive system of a carnivore, and why their ancestors’ transitioning to a bamboo-based diet isn’t as far-fetched as previously believed (bamboo has a decent amount of protein for being a grass). It’s definitely something interesting to think about! Yang Yang wasn’t as impressed when I broke the news to him; he continued his breakfast in the behind-the-scenes areas while we cleaned his habitat. If you’re a Panda Fan, I encourage you to look into the interesting research about pandas, their diets, and the behavior. For an animal that is so universally recognized, there isn’t an extensive amount of research on them. Scientists are always learning more and it’s always interesting to read!
Article cited: Sponheimer, M, et al. “Dietary Evolution: The Panda Paradox.” Current Biology, Cell Press, 3 June 2019.
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
(photo by Danica W.)
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 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:01 pm

^ One cub is selectively eating bamboo around the den like in above update: and the other conserving her needed energy by napping. An interesting possible explanation in it, for why they are selective and smell their bamboo, being they are looking for high starch & protein content ~ also there is a reference to an article that explains more about their nutrition & digestion. :rh: :pan:
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Amanda D.
July 31, 2019
As you might remember from my recent panda update, I’m new to the Panda Care Team, which means I’m making sure to spend time observing the animals in our care and getting to know each individual better. On several occasions I have spotted Idgie the red panda sticking out her tongue out as she moves around the habitat. The reason that she is exhibiting that behavior is because she has what’s called a Jacobson’s organ (or vomeronasal organ). When Idgie is sticking out her tongue she is essentially testing the odors or particles by passing them from her tongue to a gland located in her mouth. It’s an interesting adaptation to be able to observe!
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 Aug 26, 2019 9:51 pm

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Heather R
August 26, 2019
Recently, one of our very generous donors gifted the giant pandas with a new enrichment item from our Wish List! The feedpods™ is an electronic feeding device that allows the Panda Care Team to offer the giant pandas leafeater biscuits remotely, either through scheduling timed feedings or a manual feeding using a computer or mobile device. Our team is super excited about feedpods™! We can use it to offer the giant pandas leafeater biscuits overnight, when we are in meetings, or any other time we are not physically in the building. We are still figuring out all of the features of the feedpods™ and working through some kinks, but all of the pandas have experienced the feedpods™ and have enjoyed eating biscuits at random times during the day and night.
Heather R.
Senior Keeper, Carnivores
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Amanda D.
August 19, 2019
Being able to adapt to a change in routine and come up with a new plan is key when working with animals. This is especially important when working with the giant pandas. For example, there are days where the giant pandas will spend all afternoon sleeping. That’s okay, though! We don’t want to disturb them while they’re sleeping and instead, the Panda Care Team will use this time to work on other projects. Other days, the giant pandas might not prefer the bamboo we’ve put out, so when we bring them in to clean their dens or dayrooms, we’ll make sure to provide more bamboo (or a different species of bamboo) from a different bundle. No matter what comes up during routine, the Panda Care Team is always able to ensure the needs of the giant pandas are met.
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 Aug 26, 2019 10:01 pm

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Amanda D.
August 14, 2019
Even when a female giant panda is not pregnant, she may still exhibit behaviors or undergo physiological changes as if she is. This phenomenon is called pseudopregnancy. Because certain behavioral changes and hormonal indicators might suggest pregnancy, it can be hard to tell if a giant panda is actually pregnant (although in our case, we know that Lun Lun is not). Research looking at certain protein markers, like ceruloplasmin, to confirm pregnancy in giant pandas has been studied but more research is needed (Wilis et. al). Lun Lun is no longer breeding, so obviously we know the signs she has been exhibiting are signs of a pseudopregnancy. Lun Lun is at the final stages of a pseudopregnancy, which means we are observing the shift in her activity levels. Behaviors such as sleeping more often, creating nests out of the materials provided in dens, and eating less bamboo are common during a pseudopregnancy, and all are normal. We are starting to observe her returning to regular activity levels and increasing her bamboo intake, which are both indicators she’s coming out of it.
If you’d like to learn more about some of these interesting complexities, check out the article below!
Source: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/artic ... ne.0021159
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 Aug 30, 2019 8:46 pm

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August 30, 2019
Like other bears, giant pandas, whether they live in the wild or in human care, have seasonal behavioral and physiological changes throughout the year. Late summer is one of the times of year that we see seasonal changes in the pandas’ behavior. We call this period the “summer slump.” This is a time when the pandas sleep more and eat less. The “summer slump” is sensible for pandas when you think about how they spend their time during the rest of the year.
During late fall and winter, males and females spend more time eating to bulk up for spring breeding season. Males want to put on as much weight as they can to be able to compete with other males for breeding access and to impress the females. Females want to be in optimal body condition to become pregnant. It also helps to put on some extra weight prior to breeding season because both males and females are busy finding mates and tend to spend less time eating once breeding season begins.
When breeding season is over, males start to slow down and rest more often. However, after breeding season, the females enter a hyperphagia period, which means they have a highly increased appetite and eat as much as they can for as long as they can prior to preparing for a birth. Fortunately, most bamboo species shoot while females are going through hyperphagia, so they can easily pack in the calories.
Birthing season coincides with the “summer slump,” which seems appropriate since females do not leave their dens for the first month after giving birth. The do not eat, drink, or eliminate waste during this time. Although they are very busy taking care of a newborn cub, they don’t move around much to conserve energy. Non-pregnant females also go through the same behavioral and physiological changes as pregnant females do and sleep most of the time.
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 » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:02 pm

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Amanda D.
September 3, 2019
~~~ :pan: :rh: :pan: ~~~Happy 3rd Birthday Xi Lun & Ya Lun~~~ :cake: ~~~

Hey everyone! A lot has been going on in PandaLand recently, as the giant pandas birthdays are all happening around this time. We recently celebrated Lun Lun’s 22nd birthday! As soon as her birthday was over, it was already time to start planning for the twins’ third birthday — today! We hosted two celebrations during the day today. The Panda Care Team and interns made multiple gift boxes as well as ice “cakes.” The gift boxes and cake contained yummy treats like sweet potato, bananas and sugarcane. Thanks to all who joined us for today’s celebrations or watched from afar on PandaCam!
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals
:vid: https://www.facebook.com/ZooATL/videos/380054419556072/ 28 second video of Xi Lun & Ya Lun's Birthday Party ~ Photos from Video below >
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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 Sep 10, 2019 9:03 pm

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Amanda D.
September 9, 2019
Based on the latest data sourced from the IUCN Red List, the giant panda population is estimated to be around 2,000. However, most recent sampling surveys of their geographic range shows their numbers rising. This is due to conservation efforts such as “forest protection and reforestation measures” that have been promoted in China (FAO 2010). For years, giant pandas have been thought of as an “umbrella species”. This means that by protecting giant pandas throughout their native range, other animals that share the same habitat are also protected. A study in 2015 determined that giant pandas are indeed an umbrella species. The studies author Stuart Pimm stated, “96 percent of this range overlaps with important conservation areas for other endemic forest species”. Efforts like protecting forests, creating wildlife corridors between fragmented land, and limiting other human caused threats will ensure that not only giant pandas’ numbers will continue to keep climbing, but other species as well. It’s important to note that more could be done to protect a variety of amphibian and bird species that fall outside protected ranges. By increasing the number of protected lands throughout China it will ensure other animals share the same role as an umbrella species like the giant panda ensure the survival of many other species.
Source: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/ex ... servation/
Study mentioned: Li, Binbin V., Pimm, Stuart L., Li. China’s endemic vertebrates sheltering under the protective umbrella of the giant panda. Conservation Biology. 2015.
https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/ ... cobi.12618
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 Sep 10, 2019 9:07 pm

:cake: :rh: ~~ Happy 22nd Birthday Cool Daddy Yang Yang 9/9/19! :pan: ~ :rh: :cloud9:
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Zoo Atlanta Facebook
Yesterday at 3:30 PM ·
Here are some more photos of Yang Yang’s 22nd birthday. Yang got an ice “cake” topped with some of his favorite treats like sugar cane, apples and sweet potatoes, a tiered box “cake” filled with some more of his favorite treats, and he got more ice “cakes” with his name spelled out in one of his most favorite of treats, banana slices! So many treats! (Photos my Danica W.) >->
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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 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:01 pm

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Heather R
September 20, 2019
There are a lot of misconceptions about giant pandas out in the world. As giant panda care specialists, we hear them daily, even from fellow animal caretakers! So, we are taking some time here to dispel some of those myths and put the truth about giants pandas out there. Many of these myths come from information that is outdated and has been disproved as we have learned more about giant pandas through detailed research and observation.
I would like to address the widely accepted misconception that giant pandas are cute, cuddly and harmless. Yes, they are cute, but cuddling one would be a huge mistake. They are real bears and can be just as dangerous as any other species of bear. Giant pandas pack a lot of muscle into their smaller frames and are well-equipped with large teeth, claws and strong jaws. They have thick, heavy skulls and their jaw muscles are attached at the top of their skulls at the sagittal crest, which gives them incredible jaw strength. Giant pandas have one of the strongest bite strengths of land mammals, ranked closely among hippopotamuses, polar bears, tigers, brown bears and lions. Their teeth and jaws are designed to break and crush bamboo stalks, and they can inflict serious damage on other animals or humans if they need to do so. So, though giant pandas appear to be living teddy bears, they are not; they can be dangerous, and should be given the same respect and distance as we give other wild animals.
Heather R.
Senior Keeper, Carnivores
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Danica W
September 18, 2019
For our next few panda updates, we thought it would be interesting to share some common misconceptions of giant pandas. Despite the fact that they are widely known animals, there is still a lot of research to be done on giant pandas, and some “stereotypes” have given pandas a reputation. As members of the Panda Care Team at Zoo Atlanta, we’d like to share some of the things we know and have learned from spending time with these animals every day. One of the things we’d like to talk about is the common misunderstanding that giant pandas are incapable of breeding and surviving as a species without human intervention.
To answer this one, you really must think about how long giant pandas have been around, and when they started to get into trouble. Giant pandas made their lifestyles work for a very long time before their biggest threat came about: human-driven habitat fragmentation. Their low numbers in the wild have less to do with their desire to breed and more to do with high-density human populations in the remaining bamboo forests. The primary goal of having giant pandas in human care is to raise awareness and increase genetic diversity. For that reason, many zoos often house a genetically matched female and male pair. It is unrealistic for us to have an unlimited number of male companions for a female to choose from, so sometimes that is the cause of unsuccessful breeding years in the zoos that house pandas. That aside, the desire to breed is just as present in giant pandas as it is other mammals.
(Photo by Amanda D.)
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 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:08 pm

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Danica W
September 13, 2019
Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on Earth. It grows so quickly that in some instances you can see it grow right before your eyes. However, despite being the fastest growing plant, it is also one of the slowest plants to flower. A bamboo species can go anywhere from 60 years to 130 years between flowering and seed dispersal events. In addition, that species of bamboo, regardless of geographic location and climate, will all flower at the same time if they came from the same mother plant. Most bamboo species are descended from one another, and they share the same or similar genetic makeup, so when that species starts flowering in one part of the world, that same species will start flowering on the opposite side of the globe at roughly the same time. This crazy phenomenon is called gregarious flowering. This phenomenon was responsible for the starvation of many wild giant pandas in the 1970s. The pandas preferred bamboo all flowered and died off at the same time. That, along with pressures from human development, caused about 250 giant pandas to die of starvation. There was other nutritionally valuable bamboo still living, but the pandas were unable to travel to it because of agricultural expansion. This is why habitat fragmentation is one of the largest threats to giant pandas in their native habitats. Sure, bamboo grows quickly, but the risk of a mass amount of it dying off at the same time is high. Luckily, here at Zoo Atlanta, we can offer a variety of bamboo species and adjust to the bears’ preferences.
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
(photo by Danica W.)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Darling video of family I found today of the 3
:vid: 2.19 min. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hmJ2YiL-hQ 2.19
Giant Pandas Lun Lun, Xi Lun, & Ya Lun in the Hammock! 03-07-17
12,056 views
•Published on Mar 7, 2017 by BooBoo Panda 799 subscribers
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 Sep 27, 2019 10:18 pm

9/27/19~Every Nap You Take~6.48 min.
Published on Sep 27, 2019
Zoo Atlanta cubby misses her sleepy sister, and seems to want to wake her up. First chomping boo right under her {which is loud} & swishing it near her; then walking past her after she slides down the pole to get away, & flops down back to sleep; then eating closer & closer to her on the ground; finally near her covering her with boo. Don't know how it ended, if she woke up or not? as cam went to the hammock [enjoying herself so much @ 3.25 mark she even scents the near-by log]
:vid: https://youtu.be/aFYqDuJAvaY 6.48 min.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Photos from 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 » Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:13 pm

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Danica W
October 2, 2019
We’re back with more from our series on myths and misconceptions about giant pandas! Pandas are sometimes referred to as an “evolutionary dead-end,” meaning that what some consider to be biological deficiencies are responsible for giant pandas’ own population decline. These so-called “deficiencies” primarily refer to the fact that they are carnivorous animals feeding almost exclusively on bamboo, along with the erroneous belief that giant pandas are poor breeders. However, when you look at giant pandas compared with other bear species (as we have in a number of these updates), you will see that they really aren’t that much different than other members of the bear family. Panda reproductive success in human care, as we mentioned, has a lot to do with the inability to provide an infinite number of mate choices. In their native habitat, giant pandas reproduce about as frequently as other bear species, having offspring every two to three years. In addition, what bamboo lacks in nutritional quality, it makes up for in abundance. Giant pandas are well adapted to eating bamboo and absorbing the surprising amount of protein it contains. It’s actually very valuable to have such an abundant food source because it means that there is minimal to no competition for food. Giant pandas as a species have survived well over 2 million years on a bamboo diet; their populations started decreasing as human populations started increasing. As we’ve mentioned before, most of threats that pandas face, and unfortunately a lot of the stereotypes associated with them, have to do with human-made causes such as habitat fragmentation and deforestation. If you’d like to learn more and see some cited scientific articles referring to these issues, you can check out the Giant Panda IUCN page at https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/712 ... at-ecology.
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
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Amanda D.
September 23, 2019
As we continue in our series on myths about giant pandas, what about the statement “Zoo pandas are lazy?” This is far from accurate, and is typically expressed when people are watching the giant pandas eat. Giant pandas spend most of the day consuming large quantities of bamboo, but this comes after they have spent a majority of their time foraging for a bamboo stand with sufficient nutritional value. In the wild, it has been reported that giant pandas will walk over six miles to find their preferred type of bamboo. As such, it is typical for them to find bamboo of their liking, sit (or recline) next to it, and consume it before moving on to find more. When you visit the Zoo and see the giant pandas sitting next to a bundle of bamboo, just know that what you’re seeing is exactly what they would be doing in the wild!
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 Oct 06, 2019 2:21 pm

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Danica W
September 27, 2019
Time for more in our series on myths and misconceptions about giant pandas! For various reasons, pandas are sometimes jokingly referred to as “fake bears.” I don’t think that phrase necessarily refers to their body structure, as they are very clearly a bear, but more so their behaviors and diet. But, when you really think about it, pandas having their distinctive black-and-white coloring isn’t that odd when you look across all the color variations in the bear family. Among the bear family you can see coats of all white (polar bears), all black (American black bears), or a huge range of color variation in brown bears. So, pandas having black-and-white coats isn’t that far-fetched, and it helps them blend in among shady bamboo forests.
When it comes to their bamboo diet, you must remember that bears are generally omnivorous, meaning that they can eat a variety of plants, insects, and meat (the only exclusively carnivorous bear is the polar bear). In China, wild pandas have been observed breaking into livestock pens and eating goats and sheep, as well as consuming other deer species. Despite their bamboo diets, they have continued to retain the carnivorous dental makeup and gut flora to consume meat. Bamboo actually has a decent amount of protein for a plant, so pandas transitioning to an almost 99% bamboo diet many years ago isn’t as bizarre as it might seem. For a number of reasons, pandas choose to eat almost exclusively bamboo, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the same digestive capabilities and ability to consume a variety of diet items like other bears.
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
(photo by Danica W.)
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Danica W
September 30, 2019
A huge benefit of being a zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is that we can look to other AZA-accredited organizations and learn from them. We have our own set of practices and enrichment items in place here at Zoo Atlanta for the giant pandas, but there is always room to learn more! A while back I saw our colleagues at Smithsonian’s National Zoo post a video of one of their giant pandas self-anointing and playing in some wood shavings. After seeing how much their pandas enjoyed it, I thought it might be something fun to try out with Yang Yang, Lun Lun and the twins. So, after getting approval from our Veterinary Team, Yang Yang was the first to get to try out the new enrichment. We placed some shavings in a behind-the-scenes den area and gave him access to it. He almost immediately came over and started rolling and throwing the shavings around. He continued to go back to the shavings for about 10 minutes to play in them! We will definitely be trying out this enrichment with the other giant pandas, and hopefully they like it just as much as Yang Yang did. As an animal care professional, one of my most favorite things is to watch the animals enjoy the enrichment we provide for them. It’s safe to say Yang Yang definitely put a smile on my face today! Go check out a video on the Zoo’s Instagram or Facebook page!
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 Oct 07, 2019 11:28 pm

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Amanda D.
October 7, 2019
Fall is finally here, and for the Panda Care Team, that means the giant pandas can spend some time in their outdoor habitats! Well, for at least part of the day! It’s still a little too warm in the late afternoons for the giant pandas, but yesterday morning was a crisp 66 degrees, which meant Yang Yang was able to enjoy some time in the outdoor habitat. Yang Yang spent a good portion of his morning eating bamboo and then afterwards he took a nice, long nap on the structure.
Lun Lun and the twins spent the morning in our climate-controlled dayrooms, but with the cooler mornings we’ve been having, everyone will start to get a turn spending some time outside! Since Lun Lun and Yang Yang never share space with each other or with the twins, this means we usually have one of the giant pandas (or the twins) in their behind-the-scenes dens, but cooler weather also means that both the dayrooms and the outdoor habitats can be used, meaning no one is behind the scenes. So, if you stop by the Zoo while the weather is cooler, there is a good chance you will see all four of the giant pandas in the habitats!
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 Oct 13, 2019 9:13 pm

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Amanda D.
October 11, 2019
One thing I’ve gotten a lot more experience with since I started in the Panda Care Team a few months ago is talking during our Giant Panda Wild Encounters. Wild Encounters are a great way for guests to get a better insight into what the Panda Care Team does to ensure the needs of the giant pandas are met. Guests are able to feed one of the giant pandas and watch a training session. As you might already know, everything we do at the Zoo is through positive reinforcement and is always voluntary, meaning if one of the giant pandas doesn’t want to participate in training, that’s totally okay; we just try asking for another behavior or end the session early. It’s been really great getting to see people connect with the giant pandas, and it’s always awesome when a guest says they’ve learned something new. As an animal care professional, that’s one of the best feelings and I’m glad that I’m able to be a part of that experience!
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals
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Heather R
October 9, 2019
I was recently reflecting on this past year since Idgie the red panda was diagnosed with arthritis. Idgie is doing amazingly well, not only for a red panda of her age (13), but also as a red panda living with arthritis. I was also thinking about how it took a proverbial village to help her to get where she is today. Her care team carefully observes her behavior and reports any changes to her veterinary team. Her veterinary team devises a diagnostic plan and subsequent treatment plan to address any medical issues. The veterinary team also works with her care team to find ways implement treatments. For example, we have discussed how Idgie participates in cold laser therapy; her care team came up with a way to train Idgie to participate in the therapy before the vet team could initiate the treatment. Additionally, red pandas can be difficult to medicate – they don’t like to try new things, so if you can’t hide medications in their favorite foods, it can be tricky to convince them to take medications. We tried a couple of different versions of medications before we found the right one that Idgie would take reliably. In the meantime, her care team also worked closely with our talented Habitat Maintenance Team to design and build ramps and structures to allow Idgie to continue to live arboreally, but in a safe manner. Because of the teamwork between the Animal Care Team, the Veterinary Team, and the Maintenance Team, today Idgie is thriving!
Heather R.
Senior Keeper, Carnivores
(photo by Heather R.)
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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queenie
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Sun Oct 13, 2019 9:13 pm

2019-10-13_230653.jpg
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Amanda D.
October 7, 2019
Fall is finally here, and for the Panda Care Team, that means the giant pandas can spend some time in their outdoor habitats! Well, for at least part of the day! It’s still a little too warm in the late afternoons for the giant pandas, but yesterday morning was a crisp 66 degrees, which meant Yang Yang was able to enjoy some time in the outdoor habitat. Yang Yang spent a good portion of his morning eating bamboo and then afterwards he took a nice, long nap on the structure.
Lun Lun and the twins spent the morning in our climate-controlled dayrooms, but with the cooler mornings we’ve been having, everyone will start to get a turn spending some time outside! Since Lun Lun and Yang Yang never share space with each other or with the twins, this means we usually have one of the giant pandas (or the twins) in their behind-the-scenes dens, but cooler weather also means that both the dayrooms and the outdoor habitats can be used, meaning no one is behind the scenes. So, if you stop by the Zoo while the weather is cooler, there is a good chance you will see all four of the giant pandas in the habitats!
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
Member since: 08/16/06 with Previous Posts: 4386

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