It is exciting to think about how many people around the world will be watching Bai Yun’s every move in the den and every developmental milestone the cub experiences. Although this is Bai Yun’s sixth cub, this incredible process is just as exciting to watch as it was back in 1999, when Bai Yun had her first cub, Hua Mei. Back in 1999, we had the den cameras set up as a way for researchers, keepers, and veterinarians to keep tabs on Bai Yun’s pregnancy, birth, and early postpartum period. Back then, we all gathered in the keeper kitchen and watched Bai Yun’s every move via several small video monitors. The video was all recorded on VHS tapes (which we still have, of course!), and we were able leave Bai Yun in peace while we took advantage of this window on Bai Yun and Hua Mei’s private world inside the den. It was, and still is, truly magical to watch.
Our video system has changed a bit over the years and, importantly, we can share this magical experience with the world. Enjoy the view!
Megan Owen is a conservation program manager for the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. Read her previous post, Panda Cub #6.