Who is Where?!

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I thought that since we have moved some pandas around here at the San Diego Zoo’s Giant Panda Research Station, I’d give you an update on everyone’s whereabouts. Now in our two off-exhibit classroom enclosures we have Gao Gao and Zhen Zhen. Gao is not going to be moved into the main viewing area right now; he is still undergoing training with our keepers for the hearing study we are doing (see post Panda Care). Gao is still practicing going to a set target when asked and sitting in one spot for an extended period of time.

Zhen Zhen is in the exhibit that Bai Yun and Yun Zi were in; like Yun Zi, this enclosure was where she made her public debut two years ago. She has been relaxing and is doing very well. Zhen loves climbing, and we are curious to see what happens when she sees and smells a male (her father) on the other side of the wall.

Su Lin started walking around her exhibit constantly a few weeks ago and rarely sleeps during the day. We think that these could be early signs of estrus, and we are watching her closely and taking urine samples. We have not heard anything about when she will be going to China, and so we haven’t started working on her training for her trip. She is, however, doing a wonderful job participating in our panda hearing study, and we are very happy that she has managed to stay focused on this for us.

Bai Yun and Yun Zi are fantastic! Bai Yun has definitely gotten back into the swing of being on exhibit for the public and has even remembered where we usually hide her treats. The cub has discovered how high he can go up into the tree now, and he’s also discovered that we can’t reach him up there, and neither can Mom. He has come down to nurse, though, and he does play with Mom. And now with an even larger exhibit to run around in, he has been having a blast. Keepers will continue to go in with the cub so that he is familiar with us; this will also help condition him for when we begin to train him. Please remember that Bai and Yun Zi do have access to their bedroom, so if you don’t see them right when you come in, please be patient!

Anastasia Horning is a panda narrator at the San Diego Zoo.