Today is a day I will always remember. I have worked for San Diego Zoo Global for almost 10 years, but only started working with pandas 1½ years ago. Today was my first opportunity to hold a panda cub, and I have to say it was everything I hoped it would be. Baby boy panda was so cute and fluffy, and since he is getting older now, very squirmy. He weighed 6.6 pounds (2.99 kilograms), his chest girth is 13.7 inches (35 centimeters), his length from head to rump is 16 inches (40.5 centimeters), and his abdomen measures 15.5 inches (39.5 centimeters) around. The cub is able to see and hear more of the world surrounding him, and during today’s exam, veterinary staff confirmed that his eyes and ears are fully open. I look forward to many more interactions with him over the next few months.
Since this is my first time experiencing a panda cub growing up, I am enjoying the day-to-day activities between Mom and cub. Now that the cub is a few months old, Bai Yun has started taking him out of the den into the surrounding bedroom space. While these areas are not on Panda Cam, we do monitor these outings. Trips out of the den are Bai Yun’s way of exposing the cub to new experiences, sights, and sounds. Most of the time she keeps him cradled in her arms, but on occasion she sets him down and encourages him to crawl. This is easier to do on a solid surface as opposed to a high nest of bamboo. On one particular day she was especially helpful, laying him on the scale in her bedroom so we could get a weight!
I look forward to the days, weeks, and months to come when he will get a name, learn to crawl, and eventually follow Mom out into the bigger exhibits.
Victoria Girdler is a senior keeper at the San Diego Zoo. Read her previous post, Elephant Odyssey: One Year.
View more 7th exam photos in our Panda Photo Gallery.