Panda Updates – Friday, February 23
Lun Lun, Ya Lun, and Xi Lun are continuing to do well during their time apart this week. The girls are eating, sleeping, and playing together. As Jen mentioned on Wednesday, we are giving the girls some extra attention, enrichment and feedings. Yesterday, we gave each panda an ice block filled with fruit and sugarcane. As you can see, Ya Lun and Xi Lun loved their treats!
Lun Lun, especially, seems to be enjoying her extra naps! Like most moms, Lun Lun rarely gets to take long naps or nap more than once a day with the twins around. This week, she has been napping 2 to 3 times per day, which is more typical giant panda behavior. Lun Lun’s behavior over the last few weeks is one of the reasons we decided to move forward with the weaning process this month. We have observed Lun Lun trying to prevent both Ya Lun and Xi Lun from nursing recently. Lun Lun has been observed pushing the cubs away, blocking them with her forearms or bamboo, and getting up and walking away when the cubs are attempting to nurse. These behaviors are Lun Lun’s way of telling the cubs (and us) that she is ready to wean them.
We understand that no mammal baby likes to be weaned – ask any mother you know! Nursing is warm and comforting. However, weaning is a natural and necessary part of growing up. We trust and respect Lun Lun’s decision that it is time to wean Ya Lun and Xi Lun and, thus, we are taking the steps needed to do so. We love Lun Lun, Ya Lun, and Xi Lun (and Yang Yang, too, of course!) and are doing everything in our power to make weaning as stress-free as we possibly can.
Senior Keeper, Carnivores