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Panda Updates – Monday, April 9

With the recent warm weather, all of the beautiful plants on Zoo grounds are starting to grow and flower. This time of year is especially exciting for the giant pandas (and their animal care team), because it means we are approaching bamboo shoot season! If you live in Georgia or another region where bamboo grows, then you’ve likely spotted these asparagus-like shoots budding out of the ground. They grow very rapidly, with some species having the ability to grow up to 36” in just 24 hours! Here at Zoo Atlanta, our Bamboo Team and the animal care staff harvest these soft shoots as often as we can for the giant pandas. The pandas love them and are very welcoming to the change from the mature bamboo they usually receive. It is hypothesized that the shoots have a higher starch content which makes them more appealing to the pandas. They are also much easier to chew, and with the higher amount of water within them, they fill up the pandas much faster than an older piece of bamboo. The girls received shoots this time last year, but they weren’t very interested in consuming bamboo at the time. This year, we are excited to offer the shoots to those little bamboo-eating machines and see if they take a liking to them just as much as their parents have. If they are anything like Lun Lun and Yang Yang, we’re going to need all hands on deck to keep the shoots coming!
Danica W.
Swing Keeper I, Mammals

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