black & white overnight


Birthday Plans for Yun Zi

Yun Zi over the years

Yun Zi over the years

Xiao Liwu’s first birthday on July 29 has come and gone (see Panda Party: Wu Hoo!), and now it’s Yun Zi’s turn to celebrate! His fourth birthday is on Monday, August 5. At 210 pounds (95 kilograms), Yun Zi has turned into quite a handsome bear with plenty of personality. He still enjoys climbing and redecorating his exhibit when we least expect it and is always challenging us to come up with better and more creative enrichment for him.

Yun Zi excels at all his training on the different husbandry behaviors we’d like him to know and already has a long list of them mastered. Currently, he is working on presenting his arm through a metal sleeve so we can draw a blood sample from him. He is doing extremely well, and we are working on the “patience” part where he leaves his arm in the sleeve for longer periods of time.

Yun Zi enjoys his cake at his third birthday party last summer.

Yun Zi enjoys his cake at his third birthday party last summer.

We are kicking off his birthday party a little early this year. Our Black & White Overnight campers will be creating different, colorful cardboard gift boxes filled with goodies to present to him on Sunday, August 4. After the gifts have been set out in the exhibit for him, campers will gather in front of his exhibit to watch him enjoy opening them. We hope to have our Panda Cam catch them waving to panda fans everywhere between 8:35 and 8:45 a.m.

On Monday, August 5, the Birthday Boy will be receiving more gifts and a world-famous ice cake from our wonderful Forage Department “pastry chefs” to enjoy when he is let out into his exhibit at 9 a.m. I can’t wait to see what it will look like!

When Yun Zi breaks off that number “4” on the top of his cake, he will most likely be making his birthday wish. And what does this bear want for his birthday? A higher swing, a hammock, more back scratches, more bamboo…. I am sure he has a long list, and we are working on all of these presents for him. If you’d like to help, be sure to visit this month’s Animal Care Wish List.

Yun Zi when he was a wee cub

Yun Zi when he was a wee cub

Jennifer Becerra is a senior keeper at the San Diego Zoo. Read her previous post, Birthday Plans for Xiao Liwu.


Panda Sleepover for Panda Fans

Yun Zi: Dreaming of the toys campers will make for him?

Hello, panda fans!

Memorial Day just passed, which means it’s time to think SUMMER! August may seem far away still, but I know it’ll be here before we know it, and I wouldn’t want anyone to start planning their summer without putting the San Diego Zoo’s annual Black & White Overnight on the calendar.

We’ve got two Black & White Overnight adventures on the schedule this summer, and I promise to keep you posted as to all the special activities I’m planning. But for now, here are the weekends to keep in mind.

• August 4 to 5 will be the ADULTS only Black & White Overnight (ages 21+)
• August 11 to 12 will be the FAMILY version (ages 4 and older; those under 17 must be accompanied by an adult)

So mark the dates and come join us. Just bring yourself and a sleeping bag (and maybe a change of clothes). We’ll supply the tents, food, and all the tours and activities, including, of course, some exclusive time with our pandas, researchers, and panda narrators.

Hope to see you all in August!

Silvan Davidson is an education specialist at the San Diego Zoo. Read her previous post, Black and White Fun.