Panda Updates – Friday, October 12
Taking care of the basic needs of a giant panda is like riding a bike; it comes back to you quickly. Hello, my name is Kate and I am the Lead Keeper of Hoofstock. You may be wondering why a hoofstock team member is writing the panda update for today. Well, some of you may remember me, as I started here at Zoo Atlanta 15 years ago as a giant panda keeper. I worked with Yang Yang, Lun Lun and their first three cubs for seven and a half years before I moved to another department, then onto hoofstock a few years later. Being in hoofstock means I am still part of the larger Mammal Team, which consists of the panda, carnivore, elephant and hoofstock areas. When one area is short on staff, we will normally shift our Swing Keepers (those who work in all the mammal areas), but this week they were needed in other areas. So, I got to hop back on my panda care-taking bike and helped out for three days.
Though I have not been working this routine for seven and a half years, it all came back to me quickly. The pandas still love having fresh bamboo and a refill of their leafeater biscuits about every three hours during the day. The care team still has to closely watch and evaluate the type of bamboo the pandas are preferring to eat and communicate that to the Bamboo Team. The giant panda team has to clean up all the waste and leftover bamboo, and securing the leftovers into bundles is as easy as it was when I started once you know the technique. It has been great to spend time with Lun Lun and Yang Yang and see that even though they are older, they still have the same bear personalities that I learned to love so many years ago.
Lead Keeper, Hoofstock