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Thread subject: My Panda Adventure at the National Zoo
Name Date Message
FOB Webmaster 11/20/05 07:24 pm This is a post for the panda fans here. Today was my visit to see Tai Shan at the National Zoo. As a FONZ member I was able to get an early ticket, so this morning I went to see him.

The short version of the story is: Yes, I got to see him, although he was hidden somewhat behind a pile of bamboo, but I saw him.

I've posted a longer version of the story, along with some photos and video clips, on my website. Go here if you want the panda details:
Cecilia 11/20/05 08:28 pm Thank you for taking the time to put together such a nice presentation of your zoo visit Lisa. And you're right...he could have been sleeping in the den so you were lucky to get the video that you did get! The area looks so small compared to what I imagined. I had noticed today, on the Zoo site, that they had posted a floor plan that shows how the exhibit is set up but there was no scale or size indicated.

I didn't know that he was going back to China in two years, I missed that somehow. Sad to think of losing him but if it is a larger area then he will be better off. Tai Tian looked bored and restless in your video...probably because he just doesn't have that much room to roam :-(

Marie 11/20/05 09:14 pm Thank you Lisa for the outing with Tai Shan. We are spoilt by you, in sharing your experience. He is adorable in your video footage. Amazing how fast he is developing. He seems to be able to sit up quite well these days.
What an experience to be able to go to the zoo and see him for REAL.
Thanks again. I could feel your excitement. ;-)
Madeline 11/21/05 12:06 am Thanks Lisa for sharing your day at the National Zoo with us. Tai looked like he was having such a goood time playing with the bamboo. Too bad he was behind it instead of in front where you could of gotten a better look at him.

I have seen some nature shows about the Wolong Panda Reserve, and they do have much more room to roam around and real trees to climb. I believe that's were they do the research in reproduction with Pandas. They were showing as first time mom giving birth. You should of seen how she jumped when the little cub squealed. She was afraid of him and didn't know what to do with him. Can you believe they put a TV in the room with a video of a mother panda nursing her cub. They figured it would give her an idea on what to do. It's unfortunate that I'm having a senior moment and can't remember if it worked!!!! LOL Oh well, we don't have to worry about Tai going back to China for another 19 of 20 months So lets enjoy him while we still can. He still has a lot to learn and show us.

Celeste 11/21/05 06:37 am Thank you Lisa for "taking us with you"! To be able to see Tai in person must have been so thrilling for you. I think you were quite lucky to see him when you did, as I bet subsequent groups that were let in may have found him exhausted and taking a nap from his climbing, bamboo activities! It's unfortunate that our National Zoo doesn't have the space for these pandas....and, did I also not read somewhere that Tai's Mom is only on loan for 10 years from China?

FOB Webmaster 11/21/05 07:14 am Glad you all enjoyed it. I know folks here enjoy the pandas but might not make it to the zoo to see them.

The exhibit rooms look bigger on the cam than they are -- they're actually pretty small. For Tai that's not a problem because he's still pretty small, and Mei can go outside when she wants.

The webcams have a good angle, especially since they're up high, while the visitors are at eye-level, so if Tai is behind something, he's very hard to see.

Regarding Wolong, yes that's supposedly the main panda reserve in China where they do a lot of the most important research. Bai Yun (Su Lin's mom in San Diego) was the first cub born there that survived (I think she was born in the early 90s), but since then they've been popping out panda babies and finding ways to keep twin cubs alive.

Apparently in the wild, a panda mom will abandon one twin cub and just raise the other. Wolong has been working on helping the mothers raise both by switching one with the other so the mother nurses each in turn. From what I've heard, the American biologists have helped the Chinese biologists a good deal in providing them with research and new technologies. It's not an easy partnership because of the restrictions in place by the Chinese gov't, but it seems to be a good partnership that's getting better.

Nancy L 11/21/05 08:53 am Thanks, Lisa, for showing us what we can't see in person.
Melanie 11/21/05 10:01 am Madeline,

Funny you mention them running videos of a panda mom nursing in hopes of giving the WooLong mom an idea of what she's supposed to do.

Years ago when the nat Zoo had Hsing-Hsing and Ling-Ling, they were kept in the same pen, together all the time, which is not how panda's live in the wild. Consequently the two pandas formed a real affection for each other. Unfortunately, it was more of a sibling bond rather than a mate bond. I don't know who came up with the idea, but the Zoo started running videos of pandas mating for them to give them a "nudge" in the general direction of what they were supposed to be doing. You have to know the headline in the Washington Post carried the words "Panda Porn".

By the way, the "marital aids" didn't help.
Madeline 11/21/05 04:04 pm Melanie, at least you and I don't have to worry about mixing up our names. LOL,

Copyright © 2006 DPOF

Tom Throwe
Last modified: Sat Feb 18, 2006