Archives for category: Giant Pandas

Zhen ZhenZhen Zhen, San Diego Zoo, 2008

Pandamonium erupted when the BBC included Tian Tian (AKA “Sweetie”) in its year-end wrap up Faces of the Year 2011 – The Women. The new arrival at the Edinburgh Zoo shared the honors with the likes of Pippa Middleton, the singer Adele, and Eman al-Obeidi, the defiant victim of Colonel Gaddafi’s regime, prompting nearly 48% of the respondents to an online poll to agree that her inclusion “belittled the achievements of the other women in the list.”

Labour MP Stella Creasy was so annoyed that she issued a statement on the matter, saying the BBC had a long way to go when it came to representing women without making them a joke.

“Whilst we all love a good panda story, in a year when Christine Lagarde became head of the IMF, or Helle Throning-Schmidt became prime minister of Denmark, or even the sad death of Amy Winehouse, it’s frustrating the BBC couldn’t think of 12 human female faces who have made the news this year.”

Tian Tian declined to comment, but her defenders noted that 52% of those surveyed felt she was an appropriate choice because “the list was clearly intended to be light hearted.”

Mei Lan, National Zoo, Washington, D.C.

Zhen Zhen, San Diego Zoo

The Telegraph reports that this video of panda cubs enjoying a playful romp in their nursery at Chengdu Giant Panda Base in Sichaun province is an internet sensation in China.

The video became a hit as soon as it appeared on the net, soothing the stresses of Chinese workers.

Miss Huang, an office clerk said: “I think it’s very good. The pandas are so cute. I’m very busy with my work, but when I watch this video, I feel so relaxed.”

From Andy to a special fan

Fu Hu, Tiergarten Schönbrunn, Vienna

Hangzhou Zoo, China

Hua Zuiba and De De, Zoo Madrid

Scientists donned panda suits again yesterday for the historic transfer of giant panda Cao Cao and her cub Cao Gen to the outer ring of China’s Wolong Nature Reserve. Cao Gen became the first panda cub born in a semi-natural environment to be released into the semi-wild.

(Listen for Cao Gen’s bark when the basket cover is lifted at the end of the clip.)

Researchers decided to move the pandas after reports that Cao Gen had been exhibiting wild instincts, snarling at humans during his physical examinations. In the wild, these instincts help pandas defend themselves against threats from predators such as leopards.

Acting on a suggestion by panda expert Hu Jinchu, the Wolong reserve’s directors recently announced that the bears’ keepers will periodically dress up in leopard costumes and roar at the pandas to further encourage their survival instincts.

Cao Cao and Cao Gen’s new environment is situated at an elevation of 2,200 meters above sea level and measures 40,000 square meters. Fences around the area are specially-designed to ensure the pandas’ safety from other animals and to prevent them from escaping.