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Author Topic: National Zoo Panda Cam  (Read 82321 times)
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hermit
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« Reply #825 on: March 09, 2017, 08:40:49 PM »

This update was written by keeper Marty Dearie.
Bao Bao is settling in China at the Dujiangyan panda base. Our 16-hour direct flight aboard the FedEx Panda Express was smooth and Bao Bao did really well. She ate and slept the entire way to Chengdu, just as we expected. All the weeks of acclimating her to her travel crate paid off.

Upon arrival at the Dujiangyan panda base, Bao Bao walked into her new enclosure within one minute of when her new keeper opened her travel crate door. She immediately starting exploring and was very relaxed. I stayed at Dujiangyan for three days, in case there were any questions about her, or if it seemed like she needed a familiar keeper. True to her character, Bao Bao was very independent and began taking food from her new keeper immediately. Her diet in China will be similar to what she ate at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. She has more variety of bamboo to eat, and she started eating it right away. She surprised me when she ate a carrot offered by her keeper—carrots were always one of the diet items she was less enthusiastic about when she lived at our Zoo. She didn’t choose to eat the specially-made panda bread, but she will likely acquire a taste for it with time. It’s more important that she eat bamboo than the panda bread.

Bao Bao also participated in training sessions and performed behaviors that we taught her over the last few years without missing a beat. Our Chinese colleagues use very similar, or the same body gestures, to communicate to pandas what we need them to do. Bao Bao picked up on all the hand signals and body gestures paired with verbal cues in Chinese very quickly. By the time I left, Bao Bao preferred to interact with her new keeper, which is what I was hoping would happen. She quickly realized that he would be feeding her and began responding to him. At the time of my departure, Bao Bao seemed very comfortable. Hopefully, in a few years our colleagues in China will share happy news with us that Bao Bao has become a mom.  

Several of our scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and our chief veterinarian were in China shortly after I left Dujiangyan. They happened to see Bao Bao while they were there and took some photos of her enjoying bamboo shoots in her new yard.

Back at the Zoo, we are in the early stages of Bei Bei’s life as an independent bear. Just as we observed with previous cubs after the first week of living apart, Mei Xiang and Bei Bei have begun to settle into their new independent routines. They both spend less time wandering and vocalizing to each other, which is not unusual behavior for a mother and cub during the transition. Bei Bei has acclimated to his new yard and indoor enclosure. He is spending the same amount of time eating, sleeping and engaging with enrichment as he did before living separately. We’ll continue to monitor both bears and provide support and individual attention as necessary through this transition. Mei Xiang has been displaying some pre-estrus behaviors over the last several days, including wandering, water play and she was caught on the panda cams scent-anointing herself yesterday.




Giant panda Bao Bao eats a piece of bamboo at her new home in China at the Dujiangyan panda base.

Sweet Bao Bao.  love
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hermit
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« Reply #826 on: March 23, 2017, 05:02:42 PM »

Giant Panda Breeding Season is Almost Here
Mar. 23, 2017

Tian Tian Eating Bamboo


Bei Bei has adjusted very well to his new habitats and life on his own. He identified a tree that he likes to sleep in, and he’s been exploring his water moat. The moat is mostly empty right now but when the weather is consistently warmer it will be filled with water. He seeks out his keepers for attention by vocalizing when they are nearby. He is learning how to get food out of the enrichment feeders filled with panda treats. He is not quite as skilled as Mei Xiang or Tian Tian at getting the treats yet, so keepers are giving him some less difficult options such as hanging feeders or pvc feeders with larger holes. He also has been playing with Jolly balls and Teaser balls, and keepers smear sweet potato on his enrichment items and logs.

Tian Tian is ready for breeding season. He is in full rut, which means that he frequently scent marks and can be very restless. Those are normal behaviors for a male panda readying himself for breeding. He sometimes watches Mei Xiang though the window between their yards and bleats at her. During the breeding season especially, he loves to play in water and will play in the hose water while keepers are cleaning. After he’s had his fill of playing in the water, he typically rolls down the hill and proceeds to get himself very dirty. We find that when he has a really strong rut day he is often more calm and restful the next day.

Mei Xiang is exhibiting pre-estrus behaviors such as water play, scent marking, scent anointing, and restlessness. She often responds to Tian Tian’s calls with a moan vocalization that indicates she is not interested in him just yet. As she gets closer to estrus and becomes interested in Tian Tian, she will start to chirp at him. We are about to make some modifications to Mei Xiang’s den. The changes will not heavily impact Mei Xiang. In fact, it will be a bigger change for her keepers. We will remove the platform from her den and extend the bars to the floor which allow keepers to safely enter the den to check on her and a future cub. The new section of bars are slightly wider closer to the floor and will be covered with removable plexiglass, enabling keepers to retrieve a cub for a health check or access Mei Xiang if necessary.

Panda cam viewers may have noticed some or all of the bears spending time inside during the day. We are replacing the panda cams in all of the yards with high-definition cams, like the ones inside Mei Xiang’s enclosures. While the cams are being replaced, there may be times when Tian Tian, Mei Xiang or Bei Bei are inside during the day. Meanwhile, we hope panda cam viewers are enjoying the much improved quality of the pictures on the outdoor cams that have already been replaced.
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nightengale
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« Reply #827 on: March 23, 2017, 07:39:04 PM »

hermit .... I have so much catching up to do  rolleyes2

.... love seeing Bao Bao looking well  heart0

... thank you hermit!   flower
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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 #828 on: August 24, 2017, 09:27:47 AM »

Giant panda Bei Bei (BAY-BAY) celebrated his second birthday Aug. 22, with a panda-friendly cake made by the department of nutrition at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. The cake was made primarily of frozen dilute juice, apples, pears, carrots, sweet potatoes and leaf-eater biscuits. Keepers also placed a birthday-themed enrichment box and several new Jolly Balls in Bei Bei's yard for him to enjoy.

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« Reply #829 on: August 25, 2017, 08:54:53 PM »

Mei Xiang has started exhibiting more behaviors consistent with the secondary hormone phase of a pregnancy or a pseudopregnancy. That means that she has been spending the majority of her time sleeping. Simultaneously, she is starting to build a nest in her den and to eat less. Keepers have also seen the first signs of self-grooming from her. All of these behaviors are expected and normal for a female in the secondary hormone phase.

During the later stages of a pregnancy or pseudopregnancy, a very sleepy Mei Xiang will settle and sleep for much longer periods, and if she is pregnant the panda team wants her to give birth inside where they can quickly provide help if necessary. Although she is spending all of her time inside her air-conditioned enclosures, Mei Xiang will make it very clear if she does want to go outside, and keepers are monitoring her via the panda cams to see if her behavior changes. Meanwhile, veterinarians are continuing to track changes in her uterus with weekly ultrasounds, but it is likely still too early to see a fetus if Mei Xiang is pregnant. The only way to definitively determine if a female is pregnant is to see a fetus on an ultrasound. Their behavior and hormones mimic a pregnancy even if they are experiencing a pseudopregnancy.


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hermit
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« Reply #830 on: September 09, 2017, 05:51:11 AM »

Behavior Watch for Mei Xiang Begins
Sep. 08, 2017

The panda team is still waiting to find out if Mei Xiang will give birth or if she is experiencing a pseudopregnancy. Giant pandas’ hormones and behavior mimic a pregnancy even if they are experiencing a pseudopregnancy. The only way to definitively tell if a female is pregnant before she gives birth is to detect a fetus on an ultrasound. Keepers and veterinarians have been working with Mei Xiang to make her comfortable with ultrasounds and incorporate them into her regular routine since July. She has been choosing to participate in them, and veterinarians have been tracking changes in her reproductive tract, but they have not seen anything definitive yet.

Specially trained volunteers with Friends of the National Zoo and the panda team began a 24-hour-a-day behavior watch on Mei Xiang Sept. 5. They are monitoring her through the panda cams and recording data on the different behaviors she displays. She has been exhibiting behaviors consistent with pregnancy and pseudopregnancy, as the panda team expected. She is usually more alert in the mornings and has been greeting keepers at the door to her enclosure when they start their day, but then spends most of her day sleeping. In the afternoons, she often wakes up and nest-builds in her den for short periods.

Since Mei Xiang is spending all of her time inside the panda house, which is closed to provide quiet for her, Tian Tian has been spending time in his yard and Mei Xiang’s yard. He has also been taking advantage of the cooler autumn temperatures that have descended on the Washington, D.C., area and occasionally naps outside.

Tian Tian had a routine blood draw yesterday, and really enjoyed the scent of the rubbing alcohol that veterinarians used to disinfect the area around the vein where they took the sample. After the blood draw he scent-anointed himself with the alcohol—rubbing it all over his ears, head and belly. Giant pandas will scent-anoint themselves with different smells that they like. He even stuck his arm back out in the blood draw position after he was finished, as if he was asking for more.

Bei Bei has been spending the majority of his time outside lately and is also enjoying the cooler weather. Last week, he played in his yard, lazily splashing in his pool, rolling around with puzzle feeders and balls, and napping in the trees. He is 165 pounds now and counting!
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« Reply #831 on: September 14, 2017, 09:27:28 PM »

Giant Panda Mei Xiang Is Not Pregnant
Sep. 14, 2017
Giant panda Mei Xiang walking in the grass. There is a large rock to the right in the foreground.
The giant panda team at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute has determined that Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) will not give birth this year.

The panda team has been monitoring Mei Xiang’s behavior and hormones very closely during the past weeks. The only way to definitively determine if a giant panda is pregnant before she gives birth is to detect a fetus on an ultrasound. Her hormones and behavior will mimic a pregnancy even if she is not pregnant. Scientists confirmed that a secondary rise in Mei Xiang’s urinary progesterone levels began July 28. This signaled that she would either have a cub or experience the end of a pseudopregnancy within 30 to 50 days. Her hormones returned to baseline levels Sept. 14, but she did not give birth, indicating she was either experiencing a pseudopregnancy or did conceive but resorbed the embryo.

A team of reproductive scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and Zoo veterinarians artificially inseminated Mei Xiang twice May 25, using sperm collected from Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN). Li Rengui from the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda was at the Zoo for the procedures.

The panda house at the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat closed Sept. 1 to provide Mei Xiang with quiet, since she shows extra sensitivity to noise during the final weeks of a pseudopregnancy or pregnancy. With the help of specially trained volunteers from Friends of the National Zoo, the panda team began a 24-hour-a-day behavior watch on Mei Xiang Sept. 5.

Mei Xiang is becoming more alert, and her behavior is returning to normal. The panda house will reopen and return to normal operating hours, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sept. 16.

At 19 years old, Mei Xiang is near the end of her reproductive life cycle, but there are pandas who have had cubs when they were older than she is now. Mei Xiang has given birth to three surviving cubs: Tai Shan (tie-SHON), Bao Bao (BOW-BOW) and Bei Bei (BAY-BAY). Tai Shan was born July 9, 2005, and he now lives in China. Bao Bao was born Aug. 23, 2013, and moved to the Dujiangyan Panda Base in February 2017. Bei Bei, born Aug. 22, 2015, will move to China by the time he turns 4 years old.
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hermit
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« Reply #832 on: November 15, 2017, 08:32:13 PM »

Tian Tian had a preventative health exam yesterday. He was taken to the veterinary hospital, which allowed our veterinarians to get an up-close and in-depth look at him while he was under anesthesia. As part of the exam, they took a blood sample, urine sample and x-rays. They also performed an ultrasound to look at his abdomen and organs. Veterinarians did not find anything abnormal, but Tian Tian may be starting to show some changes that are normal for an older bear. The biggest change that the keepers have noticed is that he has lost some weight during the past several months. He weighs 260 pounds, and his weight has been holding steady for the past month. His behavior and appetite are normal, but the panda team wanted to take a closer look as an extra precaution. 

During the exam, veterinarians also took the opportunity to perform acupuncture and laser treatment—both are complementary treatments. The acupuncture may help improve some of Tian Tian’s overall muscle tone, and the laser treatment may help suspected arthritis in his left shoulder.

After the exam, Tian Tian returned to the Giant Panda Habitat to recover. By the mid-afternoon he was starting to return to his normal routine and eating his bamboo and produce. The panda team will continue to monitor Tian Tian very closely. If they see any more changes during the next few months, they will have a very good reference point to compare those changes to. Visitors to the Zoo can see Tian Tian at the Giant Panda Habitat, and he will still make regular appearances on the panda cams.
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« Reply #833 on: November 29, 2017, 12:00:58 PM »

Tuesday, Nov. 28

Bei Bei started showing signs of abdominal discomfort overnight Saturday, Nov. 25, and as a result the panda team began monitoring him closely. All of his symptoms were consistent with a mucous stool—which include abdominal discomfort, nausea, decreased appetite and sleeping. He passed a mucous stool on Sunday, Nov. 26, and began eating and defecating normally again.

The panda team has been monitoring Bei Bei continuously since Saturday. He has not expressed interest in spending time outside, and during the course of the day on Monday, Nov. 27, he again became reluctant to eat and his activity decreased. As a result, the panda team will continue to monitor him overnight and watch for any changes, or evidence of another mucous stool. Mucous stools are not uncommon for giant pandas. Bei Bei has passed several of them and Mei Xiang and Tian Tian also experience them occasionally.

UPDATE: The panda team monitored Bei Bei overnight Monday and watched for any changes, or evidence of another mucous stool. His symptoms did not worsen overnight, but did not improve. He did defecate this morning, but as an extra precaution veterinarians will perform an exam this morning while Bei Bei is under anesthesia to take a closer look at him. The panda house will be closed today, but visitors can see Mei Xiang and Tian Tian in their outdoor yards.

VETERINARY EXAM UPDATE:  Bei Bei’s veterinary exam went very well. Veterinarians took radiographs, blood samples and a urine sample, and looked in his stomach and colon with an endoscope camera. There was evidence consistent with a mucous stool, but they did not find an intestinal blockage. The lab results were normal, except for some bacteria in his urine suggestive of a possible urinary tract infection. Dr. Josh Hobbs from Friendship Hospital for Animals performed an abdominal ultrasound, which confirmed these findings. Veterinarians suspect that Bei Bei continued to feel sick from his mucous stool on Sunday, Nov. 26, causing his reluctance to eat and decreased stool production. They gave him fluids and medication to alleviate his nausea and started him on antibiotics for a possible urinary tract infection.

Bei Bei is back at the panda house and recovering well. Keepers will continue to monitor him for the rest of the day and overnight. They will start reintroducing tender pieces of bamboo and leaf-eater biscuits to him this afternoon, and encourage him to drink by offering him small amounts of diluted juice or honey water in a water bowl. Since he returned to the panda house he has urinated and defecated several times.

The panda house will reopen tomorrow and visitors will be able to see Bei Bei, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian. Bei Bei will begin venturing outside again after keepers are confident that he is eating and drinking normally. Visitors will notice that he has a shaved patch of fur on his belly where veterinarians performed an ultrasound.   
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« Reply #834 on: November 29, 2017, 12:03:41 PM »

Wednesday, Nov. 29

Bei Bei is bright and alert this morning and fully recovered from his veterinary exam yesterday, Nov. 28. Keepers monitored him overnight and offered him small amounts of bamboo, apples, biscuits and honey water every few hours. He is back to his normal routine and spending time outside. He settled in for a morning nap in his preferred tree. For the next few days, keepers will offer him smaller meals to help his stomach recover from the mucous stools and veterinary exam. The panda house reopened this morning.
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« Reply #835 on: December 21, 2017, 07:46:34 AM »


Giant Pandas in Winter
Dec. 19, 2017
As the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler, the pandas are spending more time in their yards.  Panda keepers sometimes get asked by the visitors why we place the bamboo and enrichment items in the places that we do when we set up the yards. The answer is simple—we make our choices with the pandas in mind. For example, we know that the pandas typically like to have something to lean against while eating bamboo, so we place the bamboo next to a log or a tree—a built in backrest! The pandas are also creatures of habit, and have preferred eating spots, where they consistently eat more bamboo than they do in other areas of the yard. Each feeding, we make sure to place bamboo and enrichment in at least one of their favorite spots. We also need to make sure that we don’t place the puzzle feeders right next to the pools, because a feeder full of soggy biscuits quickly loses its enrichment value!

Yard swapping is a form of social enrichment. Giant pandas are territorial and adults do not spend time together outside of breeding season, but they do communicate through scent marks. They make scent marks using a gland under their tails that secretes an oily substance. The smell is very interesting to giant pandas and contains information about the panda who left it. When the pandas swap yards, they have the opportunity to investigate scent marks and explore different yards.  Tian Tian will sometimes spend almost an entire day smelling and scent marking a different yard, especially when he is rut, as he is now. Last Tuesday, Mei Xiang and Bei Bei swapped yards in the morning. Tian Tian noticed his new neighbor and the two spent some time looking at each other through the howdy mesh window, but Tian Tian soon wandered away. Mei Xiang had some scent marks to explore in Bei’s yard, too, as we have already seen him beginning to scent mark.

The cold weather has also brought out the playful side of the pandas. Mei Xiang had a long play session in the first snowfall of December, climbing trees and rolling down the hill in her yard. And her play sessions have continued this past week.

Tian Tian Update

Since his veterinary exam last month, Tian Tian has been receiving specially made biscuits courtesy of the Department of Nutrition Science. Veterinarians performed a preventative health exam as a precaution in November because Tian Tian had lost some weight during the spring and summer months and they wanted to take a closer look at him. They did not find anything abnormal during the exam, but Tian Tian may be showing some changes that are normal for an older bear. It’s possible that his gastro-intestinal tract is not as efficient as it once was at extracting energy out of what he eats. The good news is that Tian Tian’s weight held steady in November and increased in December. He now weighs 266 pounds (120.8 kilos).

Our clinical nutritionists created the special biscuit recipe to supplement Tian Tian’s usual diet of bamboo, leaf-eater biscuits and fresh produce. This new biscuit is made from regular leaf-eater biscuits, two other high-fiber biscuits and beet pulp. Beet pulp is a great source of fiber. After weighing and mixing the biscuit “dough,” nutritionists chill the mixture, shape the dough into small biscuits by hand, and dry them in a special oven overnight. The following day, they are delivered to Tian Tian who eagerly eats his special biscuits along with the rest of his food. Nutritionists tried three different recipes before arriving at the current recipe, which offers the right balance of taste and nutrition.

Tian Tian is receiving about one pound (500 grams) of the special biscuits each day, and he will continue to get them until his weight returns to a more normal range for him. He may no longer need them when he starts eating bamboo culm (stalk) instead of leaves. Giant pandas eat the culm in the winter months and leaves in the warmer months, but Tian Tian has not made that transition quite yet. The biscuits have not replaced any of his normal diet. He is still eating bamboo, regular leaf-eater biscuits and produce.

The biscuit-making process is labor-intensive, so our nutritionists have enlisted the help of animal care staff from around the Zoo and volunteers with Friends of the National Zoo. The entire process can look very similar to a holiday cookie assembly line!

Bei Bei Update

Veterinarians have a better idea of what may have caused Bei Bei’s mucous stools last month. While Bei Bei’s initial laboratory results from his veterinary exam were fairly normal, a culture of his stool later indicated that he had an overgrowth of bacteria that can contribute to gastro-intestinal upset—essentially an upset stomach.  After treatment, he has returned to normal and is doing well.

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