Catching up with Ya Lun and Xi Lun
New foods and new skills are among the latest milestones for the only twin giant pandas in the U.S.
The only twin giant pandas in the U.S. are well on their way to a series of exciting new milestones in the life of a growing bear cub. Ya Lun and Xi Lun, who were 8 months old on May 3, are trying new foods, developing their climbing skills, and showing even more evidence of their distinctive personalities as they head into summer.
Although giant panda cubs continue to nurse until they are around 18 months old, Ya Lun and Xi Lun have already begun sampling some of the foods offered to their parents, including sweet potatoes and leafeater biscuits, the vitamin and mineral-rich squares which are another staple of the Zoo Atlanta giant pandas’ bamboo-heavy diet.
Play and wrestling, with their mother and with each other, are top activities on the daily to-do list for Ya Lun and Xi Lun, who now weigh 38.8 pounds and 33.84 pounds, respectively. The twins are also refining their climbing abilities, which are essential skills for giant panda cubs.
Ya Lun and Xi Lun are the sixth and seventh offspring of Lun Lun and Yang Yang and are the second set of twins born at Zoo Atlanta. Ya Lun, the older of the duo by 47 minutes, remains the more adventurous cub. Her sister Xi Lun is more reserved and is less likely to be the first to try new experiences.
Giant pandas represent Zoo Atlanta’s most significant investment in wildlife conservation. Fewer than 1,900 giant pandas are estimated to remain in the wild in China’s Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. Of these, more than 1,200 live inside nature reserves, eight of which are supported by Zoo Atlanta. In September 2016, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) downgraded the giant panda’s status from “endangered” to “vulnerable.” The species remains heavily reliant on conservation programs, and giant pandas face ongoing threats from habitat fragmentation and habitat loss as a result of deforestation and other human activities.
Visit Ya Lun and Xi Lun and their parents in the Zoo’s Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Giant Panda Conservation Center. Catch up with the cubs on PandaCam hosted by Animal Planet L!VE.
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Rachel Davis, Director of Communications
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Gavin Johnson, Public Relations & Communications Specialist
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About Zoo Atlanta
Viewed as one of the finest zoological institutions in the U.S. and a proud accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Zoo Atlanta has a mission to inspire value and preservation of wildlife through a unique mix of education and outdoor family experiences. From well-known native wildlife to critically endangered species on the brink of extinction, the Zoo offers memorable close encounters with more than 1,000 animals from around the world. Zoo highlights include giant pandas, including Ya Lun and Xi Lun, a set of twins born to Lun Lun on September 3, 2016; North America’s largest zoological population of great apes; and a global center of excellence for the care and study of reptiles and amphibians. Scaly Slimy Spectacular: The Amphibian and Reptile Experience, featuring more than 70 species in a 111,000 square-foot complex, is the world’s first LEED Gold-certified reptile and amphibian exhibit. The Zoo’s newest experience, Treetop Trail presented by Kaiser Permanente, opened in March 2017. Up-close-and-personal animal experiences include behind-the-scenes Wild Encounters with African elephants, Aldabra giant tortoises, giant pandas and warthogs. Zoo Atlanta is open daily with the exceptions of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Keeper talks, interactive wildlife shows, education programs and special events run year-round. For more information, visit zooatlanta.org.