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Panda Updates – Monday, July 1

Birthday season is coming! Many giant pandas are born in the fall, so the four pandas at Zoo Atlanta all have birthdays very close to each other. Lun Lun’s big day is first up on August 25 with her 27th birthday. The twins, Ya Lun and Xi Lun, turn 8 on September 3. Yang Yang is last, but certainly not least, on September 9, also turning 27. Even though the first of the four birthdays is a couple of months away, believe it or not, we are already starting to prepare now. We take birthdays very seriously in the panda area and like to make sure they are always a special occasion. The pandas will all get some kind of special enrichment for their birthdays. I won’t spoil anything ahead of time, but I can give some hints to things we tend to incorporate into the day. They may get cardboard enrichment box “presents” that include some of their favorite treats or items. These may be items from their diet, such as leafeater biscuits or produce, or they may be items containing different scents the bears may like, such as pine shavings. These come “all wrapped up” in a fun box they can shred to their hearts’ content. They may also get birthday ice “cakes” that can have some of their favorite produce, scents, or even sugarcane frozen into them. We also like to put up banners to make sure everyone knows we are celebrating a birthday, and these are often fun for the pandas to shred too.

As a fun preview, we recently got to celebrate Rose the red panda’s birthday before anyone else’s (don’t think we forgot about her!). Her birthday was on June 25, and she turned 4 years old. For her birthday, we put some of her favorite treats into “gift” bags for her to find. Each bag contained some leafeater biscuits, apples, and grapes. She also got an ice “cake” in the shape of a 4 that contained food coloring and some special frozen blueberries. Her habitat was adorned with some painted banners to be sure each of her admirers could wish her a happy birthday as they passed by.

Keep an eye out for our upcoming celebrations! There is much to celebrate!

Panda Care Team

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