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Panda Updates – Friday, September 1

This time last year we were (impatiently) waiting for Lun Lun to give birth. The nursery had been ready for months, and we were in the initial stages of round-the-clock birthwatch. I went on my weekend hoping that when I returned, we would have cubs. This past year has flown by! Yesterday was my last shift with the girls before their first birthday, and although not much will change in their world, it’s still yet another bittersweet milestone on their journey to independence.

Over the next month or two, we expect to see the girls beginning to consume bamboo. We have seen them gnaw on it, play with it, and even sample a few leaves, but we’re now beginning the final descent toward weaning. The cubs will begin practicing eating bamboo and will spend less and less time nursing. We’ll begin offering “Lun Cubed” (as we affectionately call the trifecta) more bamboo, and in return we’ll spend more time cleaning. Over the next six months, they’ll become less dependent on Lun Lun, who may even choose to spend less time with them as the months progress. Their personalities will flourish, and our relationships with them will change as we have transitioned to the same method of interaction as we have with their parents. I have really enjoyed watching Ya Lun and Xi Lun grow up into the amazing little pandas they are now, even if that means our little babies are growing up!

Happy birthday, Ya Lun and Xi Lun!
Jen A.
Keeper II, Mammals

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