Panda Updates – Wednesday, March 7
The weaning process for Ya Lun and Xi Lun is now complete, and the girls are now living independently from Lun Lun. As you know from following our updates, this process started more than two weeks ago, with a gradual increase of time Lun Lun and the twins spent apart during the day and/or overnight. At first it was about six hours apart, and over the more than two-week period, increased to 20 hours apart before the cubs were housed fully independently. This is the same process all of Ya Lun’s and Xi Lun’s older siblings have experienced, and like their older siblings did, these twins did exceptionally well (as did Mom!).
For the time being we are housing them in such a way that they cannot see or hear each other. This will minimize any stress and also represents what would be observed in the wild. Over time, we will have opportunities to have Lun Lun and the twins be within visual/hearing reach of each other. In the meantime, the twins have not seemed fazed at all that their mom is not present, and we’re enjoying the opportunity to build our relationships with them and provide them with extra enrichment. You may notice that Lun Lun is vocalizing a bit more and walking around a bit more. This is because she is still producing some milk, and since she is no longer nursing, it will take her body a couple of weeks to completely stop producing milk and to reabsorb what milk she currently has. The first week is always a bit of adjustment for everyone, including the care team, as we now have three groups of giant pandas to work with, but this is where all of our training comes in handy. Thank you all for following along on this latest milestone for Ya Lun and Xi Lun!
For fun, here’s a photo of Ya Lun and Xi Lun almost exactly a year ago today (a year ago yesterday, to be exact). They grow up so fast!
Keeper III, Mammals