Over the last few weeks, we have watched Xiao Liwu as he acclimates to having people in his environment and handles being on exhibit for longer periods of time. So far he is doing extremely well: sleeps most of the morning, wakes Mom up, and begins to play. As he grows, he has become more sure of himself and has gotten more daring as he plays with his mom, Bai Yun. Each panda cub born here has been different in his or her personality and growth patterns, and it has been an amazing experience watching so many cubs grow up here at the San Diego Zoo.
As Xiao Liwu grows and becomes more confident, one thing we are going to see is much more climbing. Right now there are tree guards on the tree in the north exhibit so that keepers can keep and eye on the baby and get him inside in the afternoon. Once the cub is able to move to the main exhibit, he will have access to the outdoor area all day and access to the nice, big tree. Cubs have to begin climbing at a young age as a defense mechanism, since their mothers go off to eat for several hours of the day. Being up that high makes it less likely that another bear or leopard can reach the cub.
Another behavior that will be fun to watch is the playtime between mom and cub. Through Bai Yun’s actions, Xiao Liwu learns to defend himself. As the baby gets bigger, these actions will change accordingly.
Xiao Liwu’s exhibit is open from 9 a.m. to noon every day for right now, and we will keep you posted on when this may be extended and when the cub may move to the main enclosure. Hope to see you soon at pandas!
Anastasia Horning is a panda narrator at the San Diego Zoo. Read her previous post, Panda Cub: First Days on View.
SNOW DAY UPDATE: Thanks to our generous Wish List supporters, we raised enough funds to have one snow day for little Xiao Liwu and his family. But we’d like to have another snow play date! Each $10 donation will go toward a second snow day for our “Little Gift” as we hope to raise more funds to have a second snow day in the summer for his first birthday! See our Wish List for details.