Su Lin: All Grown Up

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Over five years ago, on August 2, 2005, I remember standing on the front plaza of the San Diego Zoo and seeing several local news vans and news anchors getting ready to make an important announcement! I had heard early that morning that our female giant panda, Bai Yun, had given birth to her third panda cub. We didn’t know the sex of the cub, we hadn’t heard really any specifics, but we were excited for another addition to our group of giant pandas. I began narrating at the panda exhibit a few months later and remember watching our little Su Lin learning to climb and get to know her new exhibit. I was hooked on that little bear! My first cub to watch, and I couldn’t get enough of her. She was sweet, playful, and so funny to watch tumble around her exhibit.

As I watched her grow and become reproductively mature, there was no denying that she was Bai Yun’s daughter. The same dramatic behaviors, and yet a willingness to please her keepers and do as she was asked. As she got older, Su Lin began participating in more training sessions with her keepers and eventually was the first to participate in the giant panda hearing study.

Even though we could see that mature female working with our hearing study, there was still that little cub that liked to mess around her enclosure. She demonstrated that very well last winter when she decided to redecorate her enclosure by knocking down one of her trees! Perfect conditions for it: wind, rain, and enough weight to ride it all the way down!

We will miss our funny bear! But we are so happy that she will have the opportunity to go to China with her younger sister Zhen Zhen and become part of the giant panda conservation effort by, hopefully, having her own cubs!

Anastasia Horning is a panda narrator at the San Diego Zoo. Read her previous post, Decision Maker Bai Yun.

Note: Su Lin and Zhen Zhen are continuing their crate training for their pending departure to China. Their move will come soon. We thank you all for your support as the Zoo prepares the duo for the next chapter in their life. They will be missed.

Below is our panda growth chart, showing all five panda cubs born at the San Diego Zoo from newborns to one year olds: