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Author Topic: National Zoo Panda Cam  (Read 82319 times)
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hermit
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« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2011, 01:33:18 AM »

A new video of Tai Shan being trained.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q52gd2PEPT8
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hermit
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« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2011, 01:36:04 PM »

From the National Zoo:

May 17

We are waiting and hoping to hear the pitter-patter of little panda paws in the coming weeks. It is still too early to determine whether or not Mei Xiang is pregnant, but we hopefully make preparations in case she is.

Mei Xiang has begun her secondary progesterone rise, an indicator that the pregnancy or pseudo pregnancy will end in the next several weeks. Staff and behavior watch volunteers are carefully looking for every little behavior sign to coincide with the hormonal data—nest building, decreased appetite and energy, cradling objects—which will give us a more accurate timeline of when to expect the birth or the end of pseudo pregnancy. The veterinarians are conducting ultrasounds twice a week, hoping to catch a glimpse of a cub. Right now we are in a wait-and-see mode.

The million-dollar question around the panda house continues to be “Is she or isn’t she?” Panda house staff and volunteers are not being evasive with our standard “I don’t know” answer—it truly is too early to know for sure. In the meantime, we can all cross our fingers in hopes of a new little bundle of panda joy in early summer.


 pray2

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nightengale
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« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2011, 04:26:57 PM »

I just read the email ... thanks hermit for posting it here bigsmile
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~Chris~ 
When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world ~ John Muir
 
hermit
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« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2011, 01:05:00 AM »

You're welcome, Chris.   bigsmile
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hermit
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« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2011, 01:33:56 PM »

From the National Zoo:

May 25

If you’ve visited the panda house or tuned into the panda cams recently, you may have noticed something about Mei Xiang that you hadn’t before—her cute freckled belly! This is because keepers have been able to shave her closer than in previous years, allowing the Zoo's veterinarians to get a clearer ultrasound picture. Mei Xiang eagerly participates in ultrasound training twice a week, seemingly motivated by the pear and apple bits she receives as reinforcement, and the ultrasound gel that she rubs off of her belly and onto her ears after each session is completed.

As the pregnancy watch continues at the panda house, the keepers are also focusing on a different type of training with Mei Xiang—den training. Den training begins with getting Mei Xiang comfortable with the keepers being next to her in a specially designed area of the den, where safety bars separate the staff from Mei Xiang but still allow close proximity. From this protected area, a prized item, such as a pear, is removed through the bars using modified grabbers, which have special cushioning on the grabbing end (to be extra gentle). Mei Xiang is praised for her cooperation and for not trying to prevent the removal of the object, and is rewarded with food. The understanding is that the item is returned for her to enjoy at the end of the session. In the event of a twin birth, this is how keepers would retrieve a cub for supplemental feedings in the nursery. A high level of trust needs to exist on both sides for this to be successful. Mei Xiang does extremely well with den training, as she does in all other aspects of her training.


 love  love
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birdofprey
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« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2011, 06:22:47 AM »

Wouldn't a twin birth be awesome, although I'd also be thrilled with one.  nod2
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hermit
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« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2011, 04:10:13 PM »

From the National Zoo:

June 1

Panda mothers give birth to twins about 60 percent of the time. In most cases in the wild, the female would simply not be able to care for both, and would focus all of her time and energy on the stronger cub to ensure its survival. Occasionally in captivity, a female is able to raise twins with only a little help from human caregivers. Our Chinese colleagues have developed a method of twin swapping that has greatly increased survival rates of panda twins. Each day, one twin is removed to receive supplemental hand-feeding in the nursery from specially trained staff. The other cub is left to receive care and nourishment from the mother. The next day, the cubs are swapped. Staff members from the National Zoo have traveled to China to observe this process and to receive training in nursery operations for neonatal panda cubs. Based on these observations, our staff have developed a plan for twin swapping and nursery care.

Mei Xiang has been busy constructing her nest of bamboo and mulberry branches, adding bamboo shreds almost every night. She has moved a drain cover into her nest, as she has in previous years. While Mei continues work on her nest, the panda keepers are doing a bit of nesting as well. Keepers annually prepare and re-stock the nursery, just in case there are twins, or a single cub that needs a little extra attention in order to thrive. The hope, of course, is that Mei Xiang will exhibit the same phenomenal mothering skills she showed in 2005, with the birth of her first cub, Tai Shan. We still have to be ready for any outcome, or to offer any extra help that Mei may need.


 happy   love
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hermit
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« Reply #22 on: June 08, 2011, 01:07:20 PM »

From the National Zoo:

June 8

This year, spring seemed to last only a few days, which didn't give the pandas a chance to ease into the warmer temperatures like they usually do. Although the temperature ranges are pretty much identical in Washington, D.C., and the Sichuan province of China, our pandas do not seem to be fond of the sweltering summer weather. We keep Mei Xiang and Tian Tian comfortable by keeping the pools in their yards full of water for wading and by offering frozen treats. The pandas’ yards have cooling features such as water misters and foggers, lots of shady spots for resting, and cooled rockwork. On most summer days, you will find Tian Tian napping in his favorite cave, with his head resting near the air vent. When the weather really heats up, the pandas prefer resting indoors in their air-conditioned habitats. We notice a decrease in both activity and appetite when the temperatures soar into the 90s.

Mei Xiang has been spending most of her time indoors lately, most days only going out for a quick bamboo breakfast. Within minutes, she is waiting at the gate for us to finish cleaning her enclosure. Once inside, she usually climbs onto the rockwork for a long nap. This behavior is consistent with previous years, and is typical for pregnancy or psuedopregnancy. Now that her appetite has dropped off almost completely, we know we’re nearing the end of the pregnancy or pseudopregnancy. Mei Xiang has also been consistently adding to her nest in the den—it doubled in size over the weekend!


 happy
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birdofprey
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« Reply #23 on: June 08, 2011, 11:07:04 PM »

Fingers crossed that Mei's pregnancy is the real thing and not pseudo.  wink2
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hermit
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« Reply #24 on: June 22, 2011, 01:39:15 PM »

From the National Zoo:

June 22

Mei Xiang is spending even more time in her den these days. She continues to eat very little, and spends almost all her time conserving her energy, which is consistent with both pregnancy and pseudopregnancy. She has been intermittently participating in ultrasound sessions, picking and choosing which times are agreeable to her, but there have been no significant findings thus far.

The 24-hour behavior watch began Monday morning. Our dedicated team of Friends of the National Zoo behavior watch volunteers is an integral part of the panda program, manning the cameras round the clock. They are given special training with specific instructions on the behaviors that indicate imminent birth. Panda staff are on call round the clock as well, ready to race to the Zoo once those behaviors have been observed. We know that a birth can occur any time, day or night. Mei Xiang’s first cub, Tai Shan, was born at 3:41 a.m. Panda keepers eagerly await that kind of wake-up call!

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hermit
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« Reply #25 on: June 29, 2011, 09:34:23 AM »

From the National Zoo:

June 29

Mei Xiang has been seen doing a lot of paw-licking during the overnight and early morning behavior watches. This behavior is encouraging, as it is a behavior that pregnant pandas often exhibit, but is also seen during false pregnancies. A behavior that is more indicative of a true pregnancy is anogenital (or "AG") licking. Back in 2005, Mei Xiang exhibited prolonged bouts of this behavior for several days prior to giving birth to Tai Shan. Beginning in the wee hours of the morning on June 25, behavior watchers noted a couple of short bouts of AG licking. While this is no way conclusive as to whether or not Mei Xiang is really pregnant, it is certainly a positive sign.

The vets are still conducting ultrasounds on Mei Xiang almost every day. For the most part, she is still very cooperative, although she is very clear when she is done participating. Nothing definitive has been seen yet, but we’re still all waiting and hoping.


 pray2
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Doralyn
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« Reply #26 on: June 29, 2011, 10:19:03 AM »

Thanks, hermit, I do stop by to get updated, and I appreciate your dedication to this cam and also to the old forum wink2  I'll  pray2 right along with you, too! nod2
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"...that compulsive old scribbler, the universe, jots down another day."
  - "Moose in the Morning, Northern Maine," Mona Van Duyn
hermit
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« Reply #27 on: July 01, 2011, 03:08:23 PM »

You're welcome, Doralyn.   bigsmile

From the National Zoo:

July 1

Mei Xiang has been spending a lot of time away from her nest, and her appetite has increased markedly. In the past couple of days she showed some signs of pregnancy, such as anogenital licking, but our veterinarian colleagues have not detected a fetus during any ultrasound procedures. The fact that she has been eagerly participating in the ultrasound training is a behavioral indicator that is typically linked to a hormonal return to baseline. We expect to have more information next week.

During the holiday weekend, we will continue our close observations and take our cues from Mei Xiang. When she is awake and alert in the morning and looks like she wants to venture outside, we will open the door and give her the opportunity to enjoy her yard. As she shows more interest in food, we will gradually increase the quantity given to her.

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birdofprey
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« Reply #28 on: July 04, 2011, 10:04:52 PM »

Oh dear, it sounds like she may not be pregnant. Sad


a sleepy Mei Xiang tonight
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hermit
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« Reply #29 on: July 08, 2011, 01:07:03 PM »

From the National Zoo:

July 8

Mei Xiang continues to keep us guessing. Last week we saw her hormones decreasing and her activity increasing. With no evidence of a fetus on the daily ultrasounds, we were beginning to await the end of a pseudopregnancy. However, during the past two days she has remained in her den, eating very little, cradling her toys, and body licking. She has not given us a urine sample to check for hormones or been willing to participate in ultrasound, so we can’t confirm what this behavior means. This is a reminder that it is important for us to have pandas at the Zoo as every new behavior is a valuable data point that helps us understand more about the reproductive habits of these amazing animals.


There's still hope!   pray2
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