Celebrating 50 Years of Giant Pandas at the Smithsonian National Zoo

Pandas devour ice cake to celebrate 50 years. Photo by Jie Liu

WASHINGTON - 50 years ago, pandas took up residence in Washington, and they have become some of its most beloved neighbors.

On Saturday, Tian Tian, Mei Xiang and their baby Xiao Qi Ji (which means "little miracle") enjoyed a fruit-and-ice cake for their "Panda-versary."

"They're absolutely stunning, I didn't realize how actually big they were, it's awesome," said Curtis Johnson III of Springfield, VA, who brought his 3-year-old son Caleb to see them. "It's his first time at the zoo so he's in awe really right now."

This story was produced by Katie Kyros. For more information go to WUSA9.com.

Mabian Dafengding Nature Reserve and the 'Yi' tribe

Mabian Dafengding Nature Reserve was established in 1979 and was subsequently upgraded to national grade status in 1994. Situated in the south west of Sichuan province, Mabian Dafengding Nature reserve is relatively small, occupying a total area of 301.6Km2 in the county of Mabian, with altitudes ranging from 800m to 4042m above sea level.

Mabian Dafengding Nature Reserve together with two other smaller reserves, one of which called Meigu Dafengding, ranges in the Liangshan 'Yi' tribe autonomous region.

According to the National Survey conducted in 1980s, Mabian was recorded to be home to a population of giant pandas which also frequent the neighbouring reserve areas.

The local communities living peripheral to the Nature Reserve predominately belong to the 'Yi' tribe. Like many of China's minority tribes, the 'Yi' tribe is rich in culture, its traditions in some ways associate the lives the people with Mabian Dafengding Nature Reserve.

Six interesting facts about the giant panda

There are only black and white colors on pandas that they don't have any camouflage. Is it too dangerous for them to live inside the wood?

Not really! In the world of animals, those whose have big eyes are regarded as something big. The big black circles around pandas' eyes make them look like big animals with big eyes. When enemies discover pandas, they think that the pandas have huge bodies and thus they were discouraged from attacking the pandas.

Giant pandas are holy vegetarians?

In fact giant pandas do eat meats! In order to gain more protein for their offspring(s), wild pandas become bamboo rat predators during pregnancy. However, this only occurs on wild panda mothers. Other pandas eat bamboo only and are real vegetarians.

How many bamboo do a panda eat everyday?

Generally, a giant panda in zoo eat up to 10kg of bamboo per day. For a wild panda, they may eat more then 20kg bamboo, as they have to lose energy on food searching.

What do giant pandas like to do?

There are only eating, playing and sleeping in pandas' lives. And they eat up to 16 hours every day!

Do pandas have any leisure activities?

Although giant pandas have such fat bodies, they do have fun by themselves. They love and also good at tree climbing!

The pandas always rub their hips on somewhere like the bottom of trees. Are they itching?

No, of course! Giant pandas are solitary animals. Like other animals, they always want to set up their region of power. When they rub their hips on trees, they are leaving their own scent mark there. This help preventing others from getting into their own places.

Chinese giant panda gives birth in South Korean zoo

A handout photo provided by South Korea's Everland theme park shows the newborn panda cub. Photo by Everland

A giant panda has given birth to a cub at Everland amusement park in South Korea. The newborn is the first-ever baby panda to be born in the country.

The female cub's mother, seven-year-old Ai Bao, conceived in March after mating with nine-year-old Le Bao at the theme park. She gave birth on Monday night, park operator Samsung Group said in a statement.

The pair of pandas - whose names translate as "Lovely Treasure" and "Happy Treasure" - arrived in South Korea from China's Sichuan province on a 15-year loan in 2016, as agreed by the two countries during a 2014 summit in Seoul attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"Ai Bao and her newborn are in good condition. The baby panda was born with a weight of 197 grams and a height of 16.5 centimetres," the park said.

This story was produced by Park Chan-kyong. For more information go to AFP.com.
© Agence France-Presse

Panda escapes from enclosure at Danish zoo; returned safely

Xing Er

COPENHAGEN: Humans are not the only ones tiring of confinement during the coronavirus pandemic – a panda escaped from his enclosure at Copenhagen Zoo on Monday.

Xing Er, a 6-year-old male panda – soon to be 7 – then took a tour of the zoo, which was closed at the time.

He was spotted on a surveillance video "leaving his enclosure, slipping under an electric fence", zoo spokesman Jacob Munkholm Hoeck told AFP.

The animal wandered around the zoo until an employee noticed it and called a security team.

"The veterinarian of the zoo anaesthetised the panda and he was brought back to the enclosure," Hoeck said.

"There he was given an antidote and woke up a couple of minutes later."

Xing Er was not harmed and there were no human injuries.

Bengt Holst, the zoo's chief scientist, said in a statement that security around the enclosure will be "carefully examined" to "make sure (it) doesn't happen again."

Xing Er and his female mate Mao Sun – who did not take part in his escape – arrived in Denmark in April 2019, on loan from the Chinese city of Chengdu.

They are a part of the "panda diplomacy" programme set up by China which consists of lending pandas in order to foster relations with trading partners.

This story was produced by AFP. For more information go to AFP.com.
© Agence France-Presse

First giant panda born in Netherlands

Wu Wen

Wu Wen, a giant panda loaned to a Dutch zoo by China, has given birth in a first for the Netherlands, Ouwehands animal park announced Saturday.

Mating took place in January and the cub, which belongs to Beijing just like the mother and father Xing Ya, was born on May 1.

"The mother and her cub are staying in the maternity den and are doing well," the zoo in the central city of Rhenen said in a statement said.

"This cub was born and conceived naturally," said Ouwehands owner Marcel Boekhoorn.

"Male or female? The cub's gender will remain a surprise for the time being," he added.

"The keepers are leaving Wu Wen and her cub alone. When the cub leaves the maternity den after a few months, we will be able to see what the gender is.

"When that happens, the little giant panda will be named," Boekhoorn said. The cub will go to China after four years to join the breeding programme.

The mother and father were loaned to the Netherlands in 2017 for 15 years.

Giant pandas are found only in the wild in China where their habitat is shrinking.

However since 2016 they are no longer considered in danger of extinction but remain "vulnerable".

This story was produced by AFP. For more information go to AFP.com.
© Agence France-Presse

Copyright © 2023 HK Panda. All Rights Reserved