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Author Topic: Zoo Atlanta Panda Cam  (Read 171919 times)
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hermit
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« Reply #2250 on: November 14, 2017, 10:34:44 PM »

November 13, 2017
Giant pandas sleep in the most ridiculous positions — whether it is on their backs with one paw extended, or resting their heads on logs. Somehow they make every position look comfortable. We like to say that what looks uncomfortable for a human, is the best sleeping position for a giant panda. The cubs are especially fond of being curled in a ball with their hind legs by their faces. It makes no sense to me how their bodies bend like that but hey, they don’t seem to mind.
Shauna
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« Reply #2251 on: November 15, 2017, 08:35:06 PM »

November 15, 2017
Many of you know that we don’t share spaces with our adult giant pandas, but we still frequently get questions regarding sharing the same space with the cubs. When I say “share a space,” I mean that there is no protective barrier between a keeper and an animal. That would be referred to as a free-contact animal (think along the lines of our petting zoo animals). Protected contact means that there is always a barrier between a keeper and an animal, for both human and animal safety.

Ya Lun and Xi Lun, no matter how fluffy and cute they appear, are still bears. Bears are built as carnivores despite their bamboo diet, and have all of the traits that come along with that distinction. Even with youngsters, there are claws, teeth, and more strength than you would expect from something so small. Giant pandas have one of the highest bite forces of any terrestrial carnivore, and the cubs, while not fully grown, are still capable of biting. Now that Ya Lun and Xi Lun are 14 months old, we no longer handle them for weighing or for any other reason. At their age, they tend to sleep most of the day and are not yet shifting reliably, although we still need to provide bamboo and habitat maintenance for them. As with all of the previous cubs, at this stage in their development, per our care protocols we do not enter the same space with them unless they are sleeping on top of structures or in moats, depending on which habitat they are in. Even then, we watch them closely, and if we see any signs that naptime is coming to an end, we vacate the area and will not re-enter until they shift into another area or are sleeping again. Once they start shifting reliably, this phase of their care protocol will be changing to reflect the protocol used with their parents in that we will move to strictly protected contact when working with them. This should occur in coming months.
Danica W.
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hermit
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« Reply #2252 on: November 20, 2017, 10:08:56 PM »

November 20, 2017
We’ve mentioned many times in the past how the leafeater biscuits we offer the giant pandas get stuck in their teeth after they eat a few in a row. Because of this, they will find a piece of bamboo to munch on to clean their teeth. Now that the cubs are eating leafeater biscuits like champs, they too have found the need to “clean their teeth.” This is great and all, unless you’re trying to shift the twins. They will search and search and search for a piece of bamboo to munch on (for five minutes or longer) after eating more than one leafeater biscuit. This all means that if we’re in a hurry, we keepers have to make sure the path the girls take to the dayroom/outdoor habitat must be free of all bamboo leaves …even that dried up week-old leaf we missed during our daily sweep. If there is a leaf in sight, they will stop and eat it before going outside!
Jen W.
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« Reply #2253 on: November 22, 2017, 09:56:10 PM »

November 22, 2017
BIG shout-out to the Zoo’s Maintenance Team, specifically Joe, for their amazing job with red panda Idgie’s habitat renovations! Our little lady is head over paws in love with her new “hut,” and we couldn’t be any happier for her! This also couldn’t have happened at a more perfect time considering the cooler weather. Red pandas are much more lethargic during the summer months (even with her existing air-conditioned house), and cooler weather brings a much more active Idgie! Be sure to come check put her new digs!

In other news, the giant panda cubs are adorable as always. Happy Thanksgiving!
Jen W.
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« Reply #2254 on: November 28, 2017, 03:46:07 AM »

November 27, 2017
Danica and I spent Thanksgiving with the giant pandas this year! It’s just a normal day for us and the pandas – they don’t know it’s a holiday and need the same level of care that they receive every day. The pandas feasted on several meals of bamboo, took naps, and everyone received a special treat for enrichment. Yang Yang and Lun Lun each got a “Bundt biscuit,” which is crushed-up leafeater biscuits mixed with water and frozen in a Bundt cake pan. Each “Bundt biscuit” was garnished with slices of sugarcane. We gave Ya Lun and Xi Lun each a half of a piece of sugarcane. We hope all of you enjoyed your Thanksgiving as much as we did!
Heather R.
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« Reply #2255 on: December 02, 2017, 12:49:40 AM »

November 29, 2017
Many of you have been wondering if we have started training the cubs yet. Well, we aren’t asking for some of the more advanced behaviors that Lun Lun and Yang Yang know, but we have started on some of the smaller and easier behaviors to get the girls used to the concept of training with their care team. One of the most important behaviors many of the animals here at the Zoo know is to “shift” when asked. When we say “shift”, we mean moving an animal from one secured area to another. This behavior is important because it allows us to clean habitats safely, and if an emergency ever occurred we could move the animal quickly and reliably.

All of the training at the Zoo is positive reinforcement-based, so if the animals don’t feel like participating, that is okay and we can just try again later. Ya Lun and Xi Lun, however, have quickly learned that when they shift outside we reward them with some of their daily leafeater biscuits. They have gotten better each day at coming outside and vacuuming up their rewards in the outdoor habitat. Lun Lun has also caught on, and will usually take a quick break from her morning bamboo to see if she can sneak up a few leafeater biscuits before the girls find them.
Danica W.
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« Reply #2256 on: December 02, 2017, 12:52:09 AM »

December 1, 2017
One of our daily goals as animal care professionals is to provide enrichment for the animals. Enrichment is meant to stimulate the animal’s minds, offer the animal something new, and/or elicit natural behaviors, like foraging. Recently we offered Yang Yang and Lun Lun their produce and some leafeater biscuit powder that we mixed with a little water and froze in a Bundt cake pan. For Yang Yang, we spread all of these items in a pile of ice. Not only did Yang Yang get something new, but he also had to dig around and figure out how to retrieve his produce from the ice. He ate all of the produce first and saved the Bundt cake-shaped biscuit for last (probably because he wasn’t sure what it was!). He spent a long time eating the super-sized biscuit and he really did seem to enjoy it.
Heather R.
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« Reply #2257 on: December 05, 2017, 02:30:53 AM »

December 4, 2017
Ya Lun and Xi Lun are eating more bamboo each day. Watching cubs grow up never gets old for me. So far, I’ve seen five of Lun Lun’s previous cubs grow into sub-adults who have all gone through the same stages of development as Ya Lun and Xi Lun have, but I still feel a sense of awe and joy at seeing these two girls eating bamboo. Both cubs are already very good bamboo-eaters and can destroy a small twig in a matter of minutes. They are learning from the best! Lun Lun is an efficient bamboo-eater and eats faster than any other panda I’ve met. Ya Lun and Xi Lun are working on keeping up with her. As a result of their voracious appetites, both are over 70 pounds now.
Heather R.
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« Reply #2258 on: December 06, 2017, 08:46:58 PM »

December 6, 2017
If you watch PandaCam, you might have noticed that lately we have been giving Lun Lun and the cubs access to both Habitat 1 and Dayroom 1 in the mornings. The cubs are getting increasingly more comfortable with the outdoor habitat, and have even been napping in the cave and on the structure the past few days. They do, however, still very much enjoy taking naps in Dayroom 1. By giving Lun Lun and the cubs access to both areas, we give the cubs opportunity to exercise choice as to where they would like to take their morning nap. It also gives Lun Lun the opportunity to spend time outside while still keeping a close eye on the cubs if they choose to go inside. For this reason, you may not be able to see Lun Lun on the PandaCam from approximately 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. There is a behind-the-scenes transfer area at the end of the indoor hallway that connects Habitat 1 to Dayroom 1. Lun Lun has been enjoying taking her late morning nap in that area, as it allows her to keep an eye on both cubs if one chooses to be inside while the other is outside.
Danica W.
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« Reply #2259 on: December 08, 2017, 09:05:35 PM »

December 8, 2017
Ya Lun and Xi Lun have turned into little bamboo-eating machines! As mentioned in previous updates, it’s really fun to see the cubs grow and reach new milestones. They have been gnawing on and consuming some of the bamboo for quite a while now, but they are really starting to pick up the frequency at which they seek it out and eat it. As of now, they are not necessarily favoring one species over another; rather, they are seeking out the pieces that either have thin culms they can break or lots of leaves to munch on. If you’re wondering about the status of the cubs eating sweet potatoes, we will just say it’s a work in progress.
Danica W.
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