It’s giant panda birthday season!
August and September are birthday months for all four of the giant pandas at Zoo Atlanta. Adult female Lun Lun turned 21 on August 25, and adult male Yang Yang turns 21 on September 9. Their offspring, twins Ya Lun and Xi Lun, turn 2 on September 3, but will be honored at an early-birthday celebration on Friday, August 31.
Ya Lun and Xi Lun will receive birthday surprises – enrichment crafted by their care team, usually including favorite foods from the twins’ diet – at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Friday at The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Giant Panda Conservation Center. Times are estimates and are dependent on the giant pandas’ schedules.
Born 47 minutes apart on September 3, 2016, Ya Lun and Xi Lun are the only giant panda twins in the U.S. and are Lun Lun’s and Yang Yang’s sixth and seventh offspring. They are 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 honor of the giant pandas’ many supporters and friends around the world, Zoo Atlanta celebrates Panda Fan Appreciation Week from September 3 through September 7, 2018 on PandaCam hosted by Animal Planet. Throughout the week, fans may vote daily on Zoo Atlanta Facebook on enrichment items for the giant pandas, who will receive the winning items live on PandaCam during each day of the celebration. These are highlights of the Zoo’s robust enrichment program, in place year-round for all species. Enrichment, which may take the form of objects, foods, puzzles or activities, stimulates’ animals natural behaviors and adaptations while promoting their well-being.
Fans may also support the giant pandas through a limited-time “Life is better with pandas” T-shirt campaign. All profits from the T-shirts, which are available in a variety of colors and styles, support Zoo Atlanta. T-shirt sales end September 14.
Visit us here to learn more about conservation efforts at Zoo Atlanta.