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

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

Post by queenie » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:20 pm

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Amanda D.
October 18, 2019
Giant pandas have a wide variety of vocalizations, and the one that the Panda Care Team hears the most is called a “bleat.” From panda to panda, a bleat is a friendly way for that panda to let another panda know it’s passing through the area. Sometimes the giant pandas bleat at the care team, which we like to say is their way of telling us they would like more leafeater biscuits or bamboo. A couple other vocalizations we sometimes hear are chirping and honking. Chirping is a friendly vocalization that we occasionally hear from Lun Lun toward Yang Yang when they are in separate spaces but have mesh-like portions between habitats or dens where they can still see and hear each other. However, if Lun Lun does not like Yang Yang’s proximity, we’ll hear her moan or growl at him. Giant pandas also communicate with each other by scent-marking. Scent-marking can communicate various things from panda to panda, but one purpose is to let another panda know he or she is in the area. As you can see, giant pandas have a number of ways of communicating with one another!
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals
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Michelle E.
October 16, 2019
Just a quick update from PandaLand today! As you all know, we are always on the lookout for ways to make the pandas’ day. Giant pandas eat bamboo, of course, but there is a surprising amount of difference between bamboo species, and the pandas have quite refined palates! Because of this, we like to offer new species of bamboo every once in a while to keep things interesting. The giant pandas have been primarily eating yellow groove bamboo lately, notable for the yellow groove along the bamboo culm. We’ve also offered some henon, which has light-colored culms and branches that splay out all over the place, but the novelty of henon had worn off. Yesterday we decided to try a type of bamboo the pandas haven’t had in a while: rubro. Rubro looks a lot like yellow groove, minus the groove, but has a particular smell we haven’t quite placed – it’s almost like a pine tree! We offered it to the pandas overnight and came in this morning to evaluate how they liked it. So far, so good! They seem to have enjoyed the rubro, so we’ll keep offering it until they let us know it’s time for something else!
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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queenie
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:24 pm

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Danica W
October 14, 2019
A lot of people ask us what it’s like being an animal care professional, and specifically what it’s like caring for the giant pandas. Like other animal care team members at any zoo, our days are very much about routines, but we all must be able to adjust that routine at a second’s notice based on a variety of factors such as weather and animal behavior. Giant pandas can be particularly selective about their bamboo, so caring for them is very much about being able to adjust and provide them with bamboo of their liking. We’re so fortunate to have an awesome Bamboo Team who harvests our bamboo for us (it’s a very labor-intensive job and they deserve a lot of credit)! Some mornings, being a member of the Giant Panda Care Team means giving the pandas their breakfast, and then getting other things done while they enjoy it until they go down for a nap. Other mornings, it means giving the pandas their breakfast, and then five minutes later their behavior shows they would like something else. Then another five minutes later, another panda decides the same thing, and about five minutes after that I’m sure you can guess what happens next. It’s chaotic, but I don’t think I’d trade even the craziest of days for another job. This morning I was cleaning up a particularly big mess Lun Lun left us overnight, and I looked over and saw the twins peeking at me through a glass window. It’s moments like that I realize that while the job comes with a lot of challenging aspects, the animals we see every day are worth it, and I’ve got one of the coolest jobs in the world.
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
(photo by 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 IrishEyes » Sun Oct 20, 2019 2:20 pm

Thanks so much Queenie.. I enjoy coming here reading all your posts and love the pictures of the Pandas ... :love:

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

Post by queenie » Mon Oct 21, 2019 10:40 pm

Bev, Thank you very much! I am glad you are enjoying them also. The cubs are always so interesting & entertaining to observe:
and especially when there are twins = not only double the fun & but also with their precious, close affection for each other = so sweet! :huggie: :rh: :pan:
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#4 on the back rock-wall, #5 back logs, & #6 back edge of patio/deck = smelling scents left by a parent
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Amanda D.
October 21, 2019
Giant pandas are solitary animals, which means they actually prefer to be by themselves. While it might be hard for us to understand that concept, there are quite a few species at the Zoo that prefer to live alone. For example, the Sumatran tigers and red panda are solitary animals. These species of animals will only share the same space if it is breeding season. This also applies to giant pandas. In the wild, female pandas with offspring will leave them once they are capable of finding food on their own. At the Zoo, we started to wean Xi Lun and Ya Lun at around 18 months after the team started noting signs of Lun Lun no longer wanting to share space with her cubs. Weaning around that point mimics that stage in the wild. If Lun Lun was to stay in the same space with Xi Lun and Ya Lun now, there would be some type of aggression observed. Even the twins will eventually want to be separated once they hit sexual maturity (which is around 5 or 6 years old), as they start to look at each other as competition. If you read my last update on vocalizations, you might remember two in particular that are heard when Lun Lun does not want to be in close proximity to Yang Yang. These two calls are growling and moaning. The Panda Care Team has also heard these calls from Xi Lun and Ya Lun to Yang Yang when we are moving the pandas around from a den to a dayroom and vice versa.
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 IrishEyes » Thu Oct 24, 2019 6:47 pm

My Pleasure queenie.. a great place to come and relax and enjoy your pictures , posts and observations ... the cubs are precious :love:
'
Thank you so much

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

Post by queenie » Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:55 pm

Hi Bev, Thank you, the cam is restful to me as they are such peaceful yet playful animals, at least in zoos. :yes: Ferenz is sharing darling s'caps and interesting information & progression of the new Berlin Zoo Twin Cubs on the Panda Discussion thread :huggie:
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Danica W
October 28, 2019
Once they reached sub-adulthood, Ya Lun and Xi Lun got much more playful. After they have had their fill of bamboo or have just woken up from a nap, we often find them playing with their enrichment or wrestling with one another. Each of them has adopted her own “wrestling” style, and we can often tell who is who on the camera based solely off their signature moves. Xi Lun is more about the sneak attacks, and will often try to catch Ya Lun off guard. She also easily loses interest and will try to start eating again, but Ya Lun usually interferes and re-initiates the wrestling match. Ya Lun makes all of us laugh, as she is known for her full on WWE-style body slams. She climbs as high as she can, locates Xi Lun, and flings her body full force in her direction (regardless of whether or not it requires sacrificing a safe landing for herself). Luckily, giant pandas are very muscular and don’t get injured during falls, and often purposefully will fall or fling themselves onto things. Usually the tail end of the wrestling match consists of a lot of rolling around. My favorite part of this video is when Ya Lun reaches up to try to pull herself onto the structure (about 3 seconds in), realizes she isn’t going to get there before Xi Lun reaches her, and her body language seems to say “Yep, okay, I’m not gonna make it”, and she just falls backward. They are so silly sometimes!
Check out a video on Zoo Atlanta’s social networks later today!
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
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Amanda D.
October 25, 2019
Xi Lun and Ya Lun spent all of yesterday out in one of the outdoor habitats. Keeper Danica and I were cleaning and setting up one of the dayrooms that faces the habitat they were in and were able to observe the girls playing. Ya Lun was running around and attempting to get to Xi Lun on top of the structure. If you’ve ever checked out the Zoo Atlanta PandaCam, you’ve probably seen this many times. Ya Lun also ran by the glass multiple times and put her paws up facing both Danica and me and then she would go over and do the same thing on the glass facing the guest side! The Panda Care Team spends a lot of time cleaning, weighing out bamboo, training, among so many other things, but it’s always nice to remember that as keepers we get to have the opportunity to witness such moments. To reiterate what Keeper Danica mentioned in one of her earlier posts – moments like catching a glimpse of one of the girls peeking at us through a mesh window, or seeing them in one of their playful moods, is just one of the many rewarding aspects of the job and I’m grateful that I get the opportunity to take care of the giant pandas and the red panda here at the Zoo.
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 Nov 03, 2019 7:43 pm

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Amanda D.
November 1, 2019
As you might recall from previous panda updates, the Panda Care Team weighs the giant pandas twice a day. We will grab a few of the giant pandas’ leafeater biscuits and place them on the scale as one team member brings in one of the giant pandas while the other one catches their weight on a reader. Currently, Xi Lun and Ya Lun’s average weights both range around 64 kilograms. Because Xi Lun and Ya Lun are still able to share the same space, the Panda Care Team has come up with creative ways to get both of their weights. One method that has worked for a while now is placing some of Ya Lun’s sweet potato on the scale and some apples from Xi Lun’s diet beside it. Xi Lun doesn’t like sweet potato, so this means we can bring her in first to get a weight, and then since she doesn’t have any interest in sweet potato she will get off the scale, and that’s when we can bring in Ya Lun to grab her weight. That method has worked for quite some time now, but recently, we noticed that Xi Lun ate Ya Lun’s sweet potato! The team has noticed food preferences change before, and in that moment we realized that if Xi Lun suddenly has an interest in sweet potato then we might need a new plan on how to get both of their weights!
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 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:52 pm

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Heather R
November 6, 2019
If you live in Atlanta, you know we have had a marked change in the weather in recent days, much to the pandas’ delight! We skipped autumn entirely and went straight from summer to winter. Giant pandas are built for cold weather. They have a dense, water resistant coat of fur to keep them warm and dry in their natural habitat of the mountains in China. This coat isn’t designed for our Atlanta summers, so the pandas stay inside if the temperatures are over 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t worry, though, the pandas don’t mind being inside. In my experience, the pandas are content wherever they are as long as they have good quality bamboo to eat. Lun Lun does particularly enjoy this hammock in one of the outdoor habitats and seems happy to take her naps on it again.
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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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Mon Nov 11, 2019 9:00 pm

11/11/19 ~ Appreciate & Honor USA Veterans on their Remembrance Holiday Today :bravo:
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Amanda D.
November 11, 2019
Giant pandas were once found throughout a wide range of southern and eastern China, as well as some parts of Vietnam. Unfortunately, their range has been significantly reduced to small, isolated regions found in just a few provinces in China. This issue is the result of human threats such as habitat loss and habitat fragmentation. Certain conservation groups, along with the help of the Chinese government, have done a lot to try and rectify this serious problem that giant pandas face. One important solution to tackle this issue is through the creation of wildlife corridors. Wildlife corridors link fragmented areas to one another, making it easier for an individual to find another of the same species during breeding season or to find a nutritionally sufficient source of bamboo. It is important to remember that although giant panda numbers have been on the rise, conservation efforts like building more wildlife corridors are imperative as humans continue to build more roadways and other developments that impede their survival.
Source: World Wildlife Fund
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals
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Danica W
November 8, 2019
A lot of our updates focus on the twins and their milestones, or Yang Yang and his cub-like behavior despite being an older bear. So I wanted to take time in this update to talk about Lun Lun, and just how much she has done for the conservation and advocacy of her species. At 22 years old, Lun Lun has successfully reared seven healthy offspring. Ya Lun and Xi Lun are still here with us at Zoo Atlanta, but Mei Lan, Xi Lan, Po, Mei Huan, and Mei Lun are all thriving at the Chengdu Research Base in China, and some have had offspring of their own, making Lun Lun a grandmother!
Having seven cubs is almost certainly something that wouldn’t happen for a wild giant panda. Four of Lun Lun’s cubs were twins, and giant panda twins are not able to survive in their wild habitats because the mother cannot physically care for two. Here at Zoo Atlanta, members of the Panda Care Team were able to assist Lun Lun with the rearing of twins to ensure they survived. That being said, the bulk of the work was still very much on Lun Lun, and once both cubs were moving around well on their own, she took care of both at once. Nursing and entertaining two cubs is no easy feat, and we all admire her greatly for it. She was an amazing mother for all her cubs and has created a legacy and successful program of giant panda breeding here at Zoo Atlanta. She carried, nurtured, and taught seven giant pandas how to thrive and now they are all contributing to their species as well. Lun Lun also accomplished all of that while voluntarily participating in our Wild Encounter program and creating connections between our guests and wildlife. You go, girl!
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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queenie
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:52 pm

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Amanda D.
November 15, 2019
We always like to try and have Xi Lun and Ya Lun out in one of our climate-controlled dayrooms during the weekend or during busy times because we know how much our guests love to see them and catch a glimpse of some of their playful antics, but it’s always nice to give them the option of spending time behind the scenes as well. When the twins are behind the scenes, the Panda Care Team is able to interact and train with them more, as well as provide some of their favorite enrichment items. Some of these items include two gray benches that are always given to them when they spend time in the behind-the-scenes den areas. Although the giant pandas typically prefer to lie on the floor (even when we offer them things like hay or wood wool to use as bedding), Xi Lun and Ya Lun just love having the option of resting on these benches. Danica recently got this adorable picture that shows you just how much they love their benches, and if this picture doesn’t make you smile, then I don’t know what will.
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals
(photo by Danica W.)
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Michelle E.
November 13, 2019
If you live in the United States, you are likely all too aware that we are going through a cold snap right now. Even in Georgia, it has gotten down into the twenties (Fahrenheit) at night. It may cause you to wonder, how do the Zoo animals feel about this cold weather? Well, in the giant panda building, it’s no problem! Pandas live in the mountains of China, where it gets pretty cold in the winter. The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding’s facility is located in part of the giant panda’s historic range. There it rarely gets below 30°F, but is chilly for several months of the year. Giant pandas have thick fur, which helps them stay warm. They also adapt behaviorally – if they are living on a mountain, they will climb to a lower altitude in the winter, where they will find warmer temperatures. One study published in 2016 by Liu et. al. looked at variables in wild giant panda habitats in China and found that temperature seemed to be one of the most important variables, with pandas preferring to live in habitats that were about 64-69°F. Those kinds of studies are vital as China identifies habitat areas for protection and future reintroduction programs.
That brings me to what we do to help the giant pandas stay comfortable on a freezing night like this one: a nice, heated building! Armed with the knowledge of what temperatures pandas like best, thanks to studies like the one mentioned above, the thermostat will be set to a cozy 67°F tonight, right in their comfort range.
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 » Mon Dec 09, 2019 8:40 pm

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Amanda D.
December 6, 2019
The Panda Care Team checks on each of the giant pandas, as well as Idgie the red panda, multiple times throughout the day. One reason that we do this is to ensure that all of the pandas are still favoring the bamboo that we have provided them. Sometimes, we might bring them inside while we go out into one of the outdoor habitats to clean and set up the habitat again, but we can also just toss them fresh bamboo and leafeater biscuits while they are still out in the habitat. Here, you can see Yang Yang waiting as one of the Panda Care Team members throws him some fresh bamboo and leafeater biscuits. If you’re ever tuned into PandaCam and see the pandas looking up, it’s most likely because we’re up top and they are patiently waiting for their “sky biscuits” as we like to call them!
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals
(photo by Amanda D.)
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Heather R
December 4, 2019
This week we introduced Ya Lun and Xi Lun to the behind-the-scenes habitat. Much to our surprise, Xi Lun walked straight out there, but Ya Lun thought the unfamiliar pathway was too scary and would not follow her sister. Xi Lun is usually the more cautious of the two, so we couldn’t believe she was the first one to try out the new space. Both girls had access to Habitat 2 and Habitat 3 all day and Xi Lun wandered back and forth between the two throughout the day, but Ya Lun chose to stay in Habitat 2. Xi Lun even tried to guide her sister into the new habitat, but Ya Lun only followed her to the door, then turned around. Giant pandas often find new experiences scary, so Ya Lun’s behavior isn’t unusual. We made sure she had plenty of bamboo and leafeater biscuits in Habitat 2, so she stayed happy. Xi Lun enjoyed foraging for her own bamboo and exploring the new habitat. In fact, I had to convince her to come inside at the end of the day. We will continue to give the girls access to the behind-the-scenes habitat off and on. I’m sure Ya Lun will eventually muster the courage to venture over there with Xi Lun.
Check out a video on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page!
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 Dec 09, 2019 8:54 pm

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Danica W
December 2, 2019
I hope that everyone was able to enjoy a nice holiday this past week surrounded by the things and people you are thankful for. Many of us on the Animal Care Team here at Zoo Atlanta spent the day here at the Zoo taking care of the animals and making sure they had everything they needed. While Zoo Atlanta is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas, we still need to come in and take care of the animals. I really enjoy working holidays as it is often a more quiet and mellow kind of day. One of the things I am most thankful for is the opportunity to build relationships with the animals that I help take care of. We always work through a protective barrier with the giant pandas, but that doesn’t prevent us from being able to form a strong bond with them while keeping everyone’s safety a priority. One animal I’ve really built a bond with is our adult male giant panda, Yang Yang. This guy and I just seem to be on the same page. We talk about his playfulness often in our updates (and Lun Lun is starting to be more playful too, which we are all excited about!), and Yang Yang makes me smile just by being his goofy self. He’s never in a hurry, and he always makes time for his most favorite things. The other day he was being so silly that Keeper Heather and I were crying, we were laughing so hard. My favorite moments are the ones where we can take a break from cleaning and spend quality time with the giant pandas. It’s moments like the one pictured that I like to reflect on how thankful I am for the opportunity to care for such charismatic animals every day. I think if everyone had the same outlook on life that Yang Yang does, we’d find more time to relax and enjoy ourselves. So, just remember, that no matter what’s happening in your life, there is always time to sit back, have fun, and maybe enjoy a banana or two.
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 » Sun Dec 15, 2019 9:42 pm

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Amanda D.
December 13, 2019
The Panda Care Team gets a weight on Idgie the red panda weekly. Accomplishing this task requires Idgie to get into a small, black rubber tub that you see pictured here. This tub is on top of a small scale with a reader off to the side. This process of getting Idgie’s weight is a great example of how all of the training we do here at the Zoo is voluntary. If Idgie decides to participate, she is rewarded or positively reinforced by receiving a highly valued food item such as grapes. For Idgie to be reinforced she needs to be fully in the tub, with her tail wrapped around her. If Idgie chooses not to participate in the training session, that is completely fine. We can ask for another behavior and then go back to her scale training, or just attempt the session on another day altogether. Idgie, along with all of the animals here at the Zoo, have a choice whether or not they want to participate. The next time you’re visiting the Zoo, be sure to check the activities for the day, which usually include a variety of Keeper Talks where you can learn more about the voluntary training we do here at the Zoo!
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals
(photo by Amanda D.)
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Danica W
December 11, 2019
When giant pandas are kicked back eating, they can often be found sitting on their rears, with their front paws available for eating. Giant pandas are able to sit this way while they eat because they have a pseudothumb. The pseudothumb is a unique, sixth digit that is an extension of the giant pandas’ wrist bones. It doesn’t bend like our thumbs, but it creates a nook for bamboo (or leafeater biscuits) to sit in so that they are able to wrap their paws around things and grab them. Other bear species don’t sit back and eat the way giant pandas do because they are unable to reach out and grab things as easily. Interestingly enough, all bear species used to have a pseudothumb, but the giant panda is the only bear that retained the trait as it evolved into surviving on an almost primarily bamboo diet. Other bear species rely more on their mouths and claws to obtain and manipulate food items.
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 » Sun Dec 15, 2019 9:56 pm

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Danica W
December 9, 2019
The colder months are generally the busiest time of year for the Panda Care Team and the pandas in our care. During this time, all of the pandas are eating more and sleeping less. For the giant pandas, this means a lot of culming the bamboo (the process by which they remove the hard exterior from the outside of a piece of bamboo and eat the somewhat softer inside), and for the Panda Care Team it means constantly feeding all of the pandas and picking up bamboo shrapnel from their habitats. Although not nearly as big as the giant pandas, Idgie the red panda goes through a similar phase, where she is hungry, active, and eating lots of bamboo. She gets so excited for her dinner sometimes that some of the banana smears all over her little nose. It doesn’t seem to bother her, and she quickly removes it when she gets the chance. Bananas are a hot commodity around here, and none of the pandas let them go to waste!
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
(video by Danica W.) >
:vid: https://twitter.com/i/status/1204158920543133702 darling 18 second video of Idgie eating
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 Dec 23, 2019 9:03 pm

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Jen A
December 23, 2019
One of my favorite things about being a member of the Panda Care Team is seeing the different relationships that the pandas have with each of their keepers. This is the most evident during training sessions. Training sessions at Zoo Atlanta are always voluntary for the animals and are based on positive reinforcement. This means that the pandas always have the choice to participate, and they know if they do, they receive a reward. When primary keepers have a training session with the pandas, the training sessions are often textbook. The pandas do exactly what is asked when it is asked. Alternately, when other keepers work in pandas, we tend to be treated as “substitute teachers” by the pandas. Pandas are smart and opportunistic and will take any opportunity to test keepers to get maximum food for minimal effort. This means that non-primary keepers need to be on our toes during training sessions to make sure the pandas offer behaviors correctly for our safety. I also enjoy watching new team members training with the bears. Training is a great opportunity to build a relationship with the pandas. As the pandas become comfortable training with the newer keepers, you can see some of the social dynamics between caregiver and panda. It’s pretty awesome and special to be a part of.
Jen A.
Keeper II, Mammals
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Danica W
December 18, 2019
Giant pandas, along with several other animals here at the Zoo, are a solitary species. This means that they don’t generally spend time with other members of the same species unless it is for a breeding interaction or a mother raising her young. Due to their solitary nature, pandas must rely heavily on their olfactory (smelling) capabilities to locate and communicate with other pandas and find suitable mates during breeding season. They can communicate several things through chemical signals in their urine and secretions from the scent gland at the base of their tails, which both males and females have. They have very large olfactory regions in their brains and can determine things such as identity, sex, receptivity to breeding, and overall general health just by smelling the scent-mark or urine of another giant panda. This incredible sense of smell is also what helps them detect the most nutritious pieces of bamboo to consume.
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 » Mon Dec 23, 2019 9:14 pm

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Michelle E.
December 16, 2019
Yesterday was a great example of how well the primary keepers on the Panda Care Team know the animals they see every day! Lun Lun was in one of the outdoor habitats all morning and started walking around in the afternoon despite having plenty of bamboo and leafeater biscuits. Since as a Swing Keeper I see the pandas only once in a while, I was mystified – what does a panda ever want more than their food? But luckily Danica knew exactly what was going on! When I consulted her, she suggested we offer Lun Lun the choice to go into one of the dayrooms. As soon as we opened the door for her to move freely between the outdoor habitat and the indoor dayroom, Lun Lun walked into the dayroom and struck a comfortable pose against her climbing structure. For the panda who had it all, all she wanted was a little more choice and a favorite resting place. Thankfully she had a panda pro in her corner! I love being a swing and getting to see most of the animals and members of the team in the Mammal Department, but it does mean I don’t get to know each individual animal as well as those who see them every day. The deep knowledge of the primary panda keepers concerning the complex bears they care for still astounds me!
Michelle E.
Swing Keeper III, Mammals
{q. Yes panda pros are a blessing for sensitive and smart panda ladies like Lun Lun, so sweet she wanted to be able to have some space, to make up her mind} :rh: :pan:
Lovely Mama Lun Carefully Foraging and Smelling for Just the Right Boo~12/23/19 :chin:
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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 IrishEyes » Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:54 pm

HI Queenie .. Catching up here .. I just looked at all your pictures and read your observations since I was here .. great educational comments and videos ... Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and wishing you all the best in 2020 :hug:
\
Bev
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by IrishEyes » Tue Dec 31, 2019 6:03 pm

Happy New Year queenie! :hug:

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

Post by queenie » Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:05 pm

Thank you! & Same to you Bev & everyone, the best in this New Year!
:hooray: :grhug:
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Amanda D.
December 30, 2019
Ninety-nine percent of the giant panda’s diet consists of bamboo. Here at the Zoo, we also supplement their diet with leafeater biscuits and produce to ensure we’re meeting all of their nutritional needs. Giant pandas eat the leaves of the bamboo, but they also eat the culm of the bamboo. This means that they are peeling the thin, hard exterior layer of the bamboo stalk and eating the woody fibrous material on the inside of the stalk. Bamboo is a really tough plant, but giant pandas are built to have the jaw strength to break through it. Whenever the giant pandas get up and move to another area of their space, the pile of shards that’s collected falls off. When the Panda Care Team goes into that space to clean, we are able to know where they spent some time eating.
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals
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Danica W
December 27, 2019
The giant panda routine changes a lot as the weather gets colder, but my favorite change is that we get to use our outdoor habitats much more often. Our behind-the-scenes habitat is probably my most favorite, because we can interact with the pandas more easily and they can walk around and harvest their own bamboo. This habitat seems to bring out the playful side of all of the giant pandas, and it’s fun to watch them run around and interact with their environment. There is a particular portion of the habitat that has a slight hill, and the giant pandas love to play “chase” with their care team up and down it. This is always done through a protective barrier, of course, as we never share the same space with the bears – like other animals here at the Zoo, the giant pandas are still considered wild animals. Check out today’s video on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to see Yang Yang and I enjoying some time playing between his afternoon nap and his dinner. Sometimes, if he really gets into it, he will even throw in a somersault or two.
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 Jan 07, 2020 10:14 pm

:woohoo: ~~ :%: ~ ZA Play Today ~ 1/7/20
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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 Jan 19, 2020 10:25 pm

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Amanda D.
January 17, 2020
The IUCN Red List has the red panda (ailurus fulgens) listed as Endangered. Their populations are declining for a multitude of reasons such as “housing and commercial development, mining, and climate change”, but another issue they are currently facing is from poaching and the wildlife pet trade. The Red Panda Network shared in July of 2019 that the “poaching of this species is on the rise”, and this problem, in conjunction with the other aforementioned threats that red pandas are facing will continue to negatively impact their numbers. You can help make a difference by not sharing videos or photos of red pandas in non-naturalistic environments. Did you know that Zoo Atlanta supports the Red Panda Network and their efforts to help conserve red pandas in the wild? So just by coming to the Zoo you’re helping! Our hope is that if you get a chance to see Idgie the red panda and learn more about her and the threats that red pandas are facing in the wild, you will be able to spread this message to more people and help make a difference!
Don’t forget to check out the Red Panda Network’s website to learn more!
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals
(Photo by Allyson Busch)
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Michelle E.
January 15, 2020
It has been a rainy week in Atlanta! Thankfully, the giant pandas have been staying nice and dry in the dayrooms. The rainy weather also means that the pandas’ bamboo is especially fresh. Normally in our hot state with its intense sun, our bamboo technicians have to be careful to not let the bamboo dry out as they are harvesting it and transporting it back to the Zoo. Once it’s at the Zoo, it stays in our misting coolers for a few days before being fed out. Thanks to all this rain, however, the bamboo stays well hydrated! Today we opened a bundle of bamboo that was extremely popular with the pandas. Lun Lun completely shredded a few pieces, and Ya Lun stayed inside to demolish the piece she was eating instead of shifting out to the dayroom full of other bamboo (Xi Lun had no such hesitation and went out to chow down in the dayroom). While rain around the Zoo certainly brings its challenges and messes, I’m glad the pandas are reaping the benefits of a perpetual misting machine!
Michelle E.
Keeper III, Mammals
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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 Jan 29, 2020 9:37 pm

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Heather R
January 29, 2020
The twins had a big adventure this week! Xi Lun finally convinced Ya Lun to join her in the behind-the-scenes habitat! Ya Lun was still a bit unsure of herself, but seeing how comfortable and relaxed Xi Lan was helped her to settle in. Typically, Ya Lun is the more confident and adventurous of the two, and Xi Lun looks up to her big sister for reassurance. So, it was interesting to see their roles reversed in this situation. Once Ya Lun was in the habitat, she spent the rest of the day eating and napping with Xi Lun. We were a little worried she may not want to come back inside at the end of the day, but by that time, all her hesitancy had disappeared and she easily followed us and Xi Lun back through the shifting area. We were so proud of Ya Lun for moving past her fears. She seemed to really enjoy her time foraging for bamboo and napping in the shade.
Heather R.
Senior Keeper, Carnivores
(photo by Heather R.)
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Danica W
January 27, 2020
Red pandas are listed as Endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. This is just two steps below being declared extinct in the wild, and three steps below being extinct all together. While habitat fragmentation and poaching are both concerns for red panda populations, one of their biggest threats is the demand for them in the illegal wildlife pet trade.
As cute as red pandas are, they do not make good pets in any shape or form. The mindset that they do, and that people think they can adequately take care of them, is a driving factor in their population decline. Idgie, and all red pandas, require specialized diets, habitats and opportunities to exhibit species-specific natural behaviors. They also, despite their cute demeanor, can bite and scratch quite a bit. As you can see in the photo on the right, Idgie has sharp claws that help her grip as she walks. These claws would also help wild red pandas catch and tear smaller prey such as birds and rodents. While we do enter Idgie’s habitat with her here at Zoo Atlanta, we maintain our space and let Idgie have hers. We do not cuddle, pet, or pick her up, and any time we touch her it is for training purposes such as medical exams.
Red pandas kept as pets not only are deprived of the opportunity to engage with naturalistic environments and display natural behaviors, they are also kept from breeding and thus contributing to the survival of their species in the wild. If you would like to learn more, the Red Panda Network is a great resource for red panda information and what you can do to help ensure the species is around for years to come.
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
(photos by Danica W.)
{q. I saw adorable Idgie :rh: in person several years ago~~~ and can testify she was as fast-active-moving/climbing as the Giant Pandas are calmer/slower-moving~~~ and so would not be a very easy pet that way as well as above mentioned claws & scratching ~~~and because of the other sad concerns coming against them in update also, I hope & pray they stop :luck: so Red Pandas come off the Endangered List ~~~so they can continue to survive and we get to watch/& observe them scooting all over their territories in the zoos, in their precious busy ways~~~she's older now and so has been downsized, but she had trees, houses, ramps, bridges, & toys & was fascinating/& playful to see scurrying all over her beautiful big green shady yard. :woohoo: }
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 Jan 29, 2020 10:49 pm

:hug: :out: ...Here She Comes!
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...There She Goes :bye 1:
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 » Sat Mar 14, 2020 9:09 pm

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Danica W
February 26, 2020
We have been seeing a lot of breeding season-related behaviors from Yang Yang recently. This is typical for this time of year, and although Lun Lun and Yang Yang are no longer breeding, we still see the behaviors we would expect to see from a male giant panda. Being a heavily olfactory (scent) communicating species, giant pandas can detect a lot of different things about another giant panda by smelling the scent mark of another panda. Yang Yang is spending more time walking around his habitats, sniffing around, and scent marking to make sure all of the habitats are clearly claimed as his. Due to his heightened awareness of smells this time of year, we gave him a big hay bed filled with some of his favorite smells to roll in, so he could make sure that he felt he smelled nice for any lady giant pandas hanging around. While there are many theories as to why giant pandas self-anoint, one of them is that the pungent smells, in this case Tabasco sauce and isopropyl alcohol, make them stick out compared to the environment and thus easier for potential mates to find. While it is cute, it is an example of a type of enrichment we provide the animals at Zoo Atlanta so that they can exhibit species-appropriate behaviors that biologically and innately mean something to them.
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
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Danica W
March 4, 2020
With each enrichment activity or item offered, the Panda Care Team has a specific goal in mind. Certain enrichment might create a puzzle the pandas can try to solve to mentally challenge them. Other things might be novel foods, new smells, or simply something they can roll around and play with. Sometimes, despite well thought-out goals, the animals decide to use their enrichment in a completely different way, which when you think about it, is an enriching experience in itself. When recently giving Yang Yang a large tunnel, for example, the goal was to have Yang Yang use his great sense of smell to locate the biscuits we hid under it. Instead, he decided it was a fun place to eat 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 » Sat Mar 14, 2020 9:16 pm

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Amanda D.
March 11, 2020
Did you know that both red pandas and giant pandas have pseudothumbs? Although they belong to different families (giant pandas are part of the Ursidae or bear family, while red pandas belong to the family Ailuridae), they both evolved with this same feature independently. This is called convergent evolution. Just like the giant pandas, red pandas have diets that are comprised of mostly bamboo. Having this adaptation allows red pandas to grasp and manipulate the stems of bamboo. Here at the Zoo, we also supplement Idgie’s diet with leafeater biscuits and some produce. In this picture, you can see Idgie using her pseudothumb to grasp a piece of banana. It’s a really interesting trait to be able to observe, and if you’re interested, there are studies that you can read that discuss more in depth about this shared trait between giant pandas and red pandas.
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals

(photo by Amanda D.)
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Amanda D.
March 9, 2020
The Panda Care Team sometimes gets asked how to tell Ya Lun and Xi Lun apart from each other. They both have some unique physical traits, but they also have very different personalities, and I thought I’d share some of those differences so that if you’re ever at the Zoo, on our social media networks, or tuned into PandaCam you can figure out who it is! Some distinguishing features from panda to panda are determined by their saddle – the black fur that goes across their shoulders – as well as their eye patches. I think the easiest physical feature to go by when looking at both girls is that Xi Lun has the more “cat-eye” eye patch compared to her sister. As far as personalities go, if you see someone flinging herself off the top of the structure into the hammock onto the other, it’s definitely Ya Lun. Xi Lun is usually on the ground, attempting to run away, but never attempts her sister’s WWE throw-down moves. Also, when we are moving the girls from a behind-the-scenes space into a dayroom or outdoor habitat, Xi Lun typically goes to a pile of bamboo and starts eating right away, while her sister always goes for the leafeater biscuits first.
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 IrishEyes » Sun Mar 15, 2020 11:38 am

Thanks Queenie .. It has been a while since I peeked in here... I can''t believe how big the Twins are and so beautiful! :love:
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by queenie » Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:00 pm

Thank you too Bev! You are right they are getting big, & wonder if they'll be as big as their parents, which are considered fairly large adult pandas. They are so spunky too, and seem more themselves today dealing with the lack of their loyal friends/fans at the windows :( March 14 to possibly March 31, 2020 {they always seem so interactive with Zoo visitors, oh my they are sort of in social-distancing also}
Such a difficult time for all in so many ways, everywhere with this virus, so my prayers and blessings go out to all to get through it as soon and as well as possible, even to our precious animals & birds who understand even less than we do. Thank goodness the Keepers are giving them extra quality attention and valuable training to keep them busy, as to not get too lonely..But our very sensitive Cool Daddy Yang still seemed a little draggy today; :dunno: but as always they are all beautifully positive studies/& views of nature, that are always uplifting/& love-ly to we humans. And I'm sure they will be as thankful to see us back ASAP ~ as we will them in person/panda. :rh: :pan:
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Danica W
March 25, 2020
During this temporary period when the Zoo is closed, between extra projects, cleaning and training, we are still making sure we take this quiet time around the Zoo to have fun and spend as much quality time with the animals as we can. Now that both Ya Lun and Xi Lun are comfortable in our behind-the-scenes habitat, they’re being playful out there with each other and their care team! Shauna now works in the carnivore area of our department, but this week she’s hanging out with me and the pandas. She was a nursery caregiver when the twins were born, so it’s fun to see her interact with them now that they’re subadults. Playing “tag” is something Lun Lun and Yang Yang like to do with their care team when they are in this habitat, and the girls decided to play with us today. It’s also very funny when one of the twins gets momentum running down the hill and can’t slow down before plowing into the other one (looking at you, Ya Lun). Don’t worry though, they bounce right back up to play some more!
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals
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Danica W
March 18, 2020
All Animal Care Teams are here at Zoo Atlanta caring for all of the animals even though the Zoo is temporarily closed. We are utilizing this time to work on projects in the animals’ habitats, brainstorming new enrichment items, and spending extra quality time with the animals. For us on the Panda Care Team, we will be utilizing this time to get in a lot of training with Ya Lun and Xi Lun! We wanted to share with you one of the ways that we are able to do voluntary blood draws with all of the giant pandas. While we are not doing an actual blood draw in this video, you can see the way that the panda is able to hold their arm in place while the keepers are still safe. In this position, our Veterinary Team would come in and collect a blood sample as long as the panda being trained is comfortable. It’s a really great way for us to monitor the pandas’ overall health! This is a complex voluntary veterinary behavior that the twins have known how to do since November of 2018, and is one of the many ways the animals here at the Zoo are able to participate in their own care.
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 IrishEyes » Thu Mar 26, 2020 12:56 pm

Thanks queenie .. good to hear from you and hanks for the updates and happy the Pandas are doing well :huggie: ~

I am doing well ~ Hope all is well with you !

Keeping all humans and wildlife in my thoughts and prayers . :grhug:
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Re: Giant Pandas at Zoo Atlanta ~ Lun Lun-Yang-Ya Lun & Xi Lun Family

Post by JudyB » Thu Mar 26, 2020 5:19 pm

Thanks, queenie - happy to hear that the pandas are doing well, and the care team is finding ways to make use of these challenging times.

Charlie and I (and kitty Chelsea Girl) are well, and hope all is well with you and yours.

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

Post by queenie » Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:47 pm

Thanks Bev & Judy glad you are doing well in the current serious virus distancing.
Some good ways in below updates shown again to identify the adults from each other {they're solitary}~~ and the twins who are together. I'm glad they play with Daddy Yang I saw him doing somersaults in his den the other day, maybe he thought a show would bring an audiance :luck: He really enjoys his fans :rh: :pan: the other update explains that they have lost the Red Panda Idgie, what a wonderful panda she was & sweet memory she is ~ we saw her a few times at the zoo, very active and spunky then. So adorable she drew a crowd around her yard always! :grhug:
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Amanda D.
April 15, 2020
Earlier this week, we posted some tips on telling the giant panda twins apart on PandaCam. As a follow-up to that post, here are some tips on identifying the adults! If you need help figuring out how to tell the adult bears apart, here are some things to look out for.
For starters, Yang Yang is larger than Lun Lun. Yang Yang also has a very contoured face or chiseled cheeks and has a permanent “Five O’Clock Shadow.” The Panda Care Team also likes to say that he has “Shrek” ears (which are pretty cute, just sayin’).
Lun Lun has a small, round, fluffy face. You’ll typically see her sprawled out on the hammock in our outdoor habitat, as she loves to take her afternoon naps there. Another difference between the adults is that Yang Yang is very social and loves to solicit attention from us, whereas Lun usually just wants us to provide her with more leafeater biscuits or produce. When Yang Yang is feeling playful, :woohoo: we can fulfill that need by playing our version of “tug-of-war” (through a protective barrier, of course) or playing ”tag” where we run along a fence line or mesh as he runs on his side. As you’ve probably read or seen in recent updates, we have noticed Lun becoming more playful lately too, though! It’s been really awesome to see her playful side show! Anyway, I hope some of these traits help you to identify the adults when you’re tuned into PandaCam!
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals
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April 13, 2020
Today, we wanted to tell you some of the ways to tell Ya Lun and Xi Lun apart when you’re watching PandaCam. The easiest way to tell them apart is by their eye patches. Xi Lun’s patches have a cat eye shape that swoop to the sides, and Ya Lun’s patches have more of a rounded, oval shape. Also, when you happen to tune into PandaCam as the twins are walking into their habitat from behind the scenes, Ya Lun, without a doubt, goes directly for the leafeater biscuits while Xi Lun heads for a nice pile of bamboo. And last, if you see them playing, Ya Lun is the more confident of the two, and she’s usually the one jumping off of structures onto her sister below. Thanks for tuning into PandaCam and supporting the Zoo!
Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals
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~~~~~~~~~ The Twins Swinging & Observing :%:
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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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