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August and September bring birthdays for pandas

The months of August and September mean birthday time for all four of the giant pandas at Zoo Atlanta. Adult female Lun Lun turned 22 on August 25, and adult male Yang Yang turns 22 on September 9. Their offspring, female twins Ya Lun and Xi Lun, turn 3 on September 3.

Ya Lun and Xi Lun will explore birthday enrichment created by their care team at two times on Tuesday, September 3: 10:30 a.m. and between 1:30 and 2:15 p.m. at The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Giant Panda Conservation Center. Times are estimates and are dependent on the giant pandas’ schedules.

Born September 3, 2016, Ya Lun and Xi Lun are the only giant panda twins in the U.S. and are the sixth and seventh offspring of Lun Lun and Yang Yang, who arrived in Atlanta 20 years ago this November. The twins are important ambassadors for Zoo Atlanta’s most significant long-term investment in wildlife conservation. Fewer than 1,900 giant pandas are estimated to remain in the wild in China’s Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. Of these, more than 1,200 live inside nature reserves, and eight of these reserves have been supported by Zoo Atlanta. Although the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) downgraded the species’ status from “endangered” to “vulnerable” in 2016, giant pandas remain heavily reliant on conservation programs. Their threats include habitat fragmentation and habitat loss as a result of deforestation and other human activities. Zoo Atlanta has contributed well over $10 million in support of wild giant pandas in China and has provided support for reforestation projects, conservation education programs, giant panda nurseries and field research programs and supplies.

In celebration of 20 years of pandas at Zoo Atlanta, well-wishers are also invited to support the giant panda program with the limited-edition 2019 giant panda T-shirt. Available in a variety of colors and styles, the 2019 design features Lun Lun, Yang Yang and all seven of their offspring: male Mei Lan (born 2006); male Xi Lan (born 2008); female Po (born 2010); female twins Mei Lun and Mei Huan (born 2013); and Ya Lun and Xi Lun. All proceeds benefit Zoo Atlanta. T-shirt sales end August 31.

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