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  1. #121
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    U.S. pandas won’t listen to their Chinese handlers because they only know English

    Nov 17, 2016


    Culture shock isn’t just for human beings.

    That fact has been vividly illustrated by the plight of Mei Lun and Mei Huan, twin 3-year-old pandas who currently reside at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China.

    The sisters were born in the United States, specifically in Atlanta. They are the first giant panda twins to survive past infancy in the United States, per Zoo Atlanta’s website, and their names derive from a Chinese idiom meaning “something indescribably beautiful and magnificent.”

    After three years in Atlanta, during which the pair became beloved fixtures for zoo-goers, the two were sent to China on Nov. 3, as part of an agreement between the zoo and the Chinese giant panda conservation program. The pandas’ mother, Lun Lun, was born in China but was lent to the U.S., with the understanding that all of her offspring would return to China once they leave childhood, per NBC 11. The same process occurred with three of the twins’ siblings.

    But just because this was expected for zookeepers, scientists and administrators doesn’t mean the pandas themselves were ready for the move. According to the state-run media outlet The People’s Daily, both Mei Lun and Mei Huan prefer American biscuits, so much so that their keepers have to mix all their food with them so the pandas eat.

    Even stranger, Mei Lun and Mei Huan understand English, but Chinese may as well be Greek to them. The People’s Daily reports that the pandas will respond to English commands such as “come here” and other basic words, but ignore anything said in the local dialect except their own names.

    more at link

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    You would think this would be common sense. You would think they would have someone who speaks English there for them before they arrived in China. The poor Mei's.
    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  2. #122
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    Friday, November 18

    Now that the cubs are older, they can go longer periods between nursing bouts. We have extended the time between swaps to five to seven hours. The cubs typically only nurse once for 20-30 minutes during their time with Lun Lun. Instead of having a set swapping schedule, we base the timing on Lun Lun's and the cubs' behaviors and when the last nursing session occurred. This flexible schedule allows Lun Lun more time to eat, rest, and recover her milk supply. The cubs are still drinking all of the milk that they need and gaining weight steadily.





    Heather R.
    Keeper III, Mammals
    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  3. #123
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    Monday, November 21

    Cub A and Cub B will be 100 days old in three very short weeks. This means that you have a very important decision to make, and you only have two weeks to do it. Our friends in Chengdu have given us seven very special sets of names for us to choose from. We need you to help us decide. So make sure you follow the link on our 100 Day Naming Celebration page and give us your vote for your favorite set of names!





    As far as these lovely ladies, they are continuing to grow and develop well. Have you gotten to see them scooting around the nest box yet?!
    Jennifer A.
    Keeper II, Mammals
    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  4. #124
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    Wednesday, November 23

    Oh. My. Goodness! I am gone one week (to attend a professional development class) and come back to huge, wiggly/squirmy, able-to-grip, on-a-mission-to-figure-out-how-to-use-these-legs baby pandas! When I went to swap the cubs for the first time after coming back to work, I was pleasantly surprised to discover the cubs are mastering the art of "gripping" with their front legs. It's not nearly as easy to manipulate them as it was a week or so ago. This of course brought back many memories of the Meis and I know all too well that they're just now starting to enter the phase where they'll start testing the boundaries of their world as they start exploring more and more.
    Jen W.
    Keeper III, Mammals


    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  5. #125
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    Friday, November 25

    Happy Thanksgiving (a little late) from the nursery! Here at Zoo Atlanta, and specifically in the panda building, we have so much to be thankful for this year. We are so thankful for happy, healthy panda twins and a great momma bear who is so good at her role. We are thankful for all of the great staff that work so hard to take care of all of the animals and make our 24 hour nursery shifts possible. Taking care of these little girls is a big team effort for our entire department, not just the panda staff. I don't think I could ever rave enough about how great everyone is. We have such an amazing team. We are also so thankful for all of you. For everyone who reads our updates, follows the bears on PandaCam, donates to the Zoo and comes and visits in person. You all are such a valuable part of our conservation mission. We wouldn't be able to do what we do with out you. Thank YOU!





    Now, I'm sure you're ready for some cub updates. They are growing like weeds, but that's not new to you. I thought I would share an updated photo of Cub B's gums. As you can see her teeth are getting closer and closer to the surface. They could erupt anywhere between now and about 120 days. It looks like she has a little bit longer to go. This was a great picture of her yawning during a weight check. You can also see how sharp her claws are. These are very helpful in helping her navigate her way through Lun's fur. The other picture is just cute. I couldn't resist.
    Jenny E.
    Lead Keeper, Carnivores
    (Photos by Jenny E.)
    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  6. #126
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    Monday, November 28





    On Sunday afternoon, Cub B had a grand adventure! Lun Lun had just finished nursing Cub B in Den 1 and left in search of bamboo in another den. Cub B was not pleased with her mom's decision, so she started scooting around the den and vocalizing ... loudly. After a couple of minutes, Lun returned to Den 1, sniffed her cub, and then apparently decided that Cub B was just fine because she sat down a short ways away from the cub. Cub B got even louder, but Lun held her ground. It seemed like Lun was challenging Cub B to come to her. Cub B scooted all the way down the hallway (about six feet!) yelling at her mom the entire way. At one point, she stopped a couple of feet away from her mom for a quick breather. She laid there with her head in the air just yelling and staring straight in her mom's direction! Don't worry; when she made it to Lun just a minute later, Lun scooped her up and laid down with her for a nap. I can't believe how quickly these two little girls are growing. Time is just flying by!
    Jennifer A.
    Keeper II, Mammals
    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  7. #127
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    Wednesday, November 30

    Cub A is well known for the rather large patches of white fur on her heels. All of our cubs have had white heels, but the patches usually diminish as they age. Cub A's patches are the biggest we've seen of any cub. To add to the many things that make A stand out on her own, I noticed another cute quirk today! Check out the picture I took! She's got this random white hair growing out the tip of her right forepaw, where all the rest of her fur is black! How adorable! I wonder how long it'll stay there?
    Jen W.
    Keeper III, Mammals


    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  8. #128
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    Friday, December 2

    The cubs are 90 days old! Recently, the cubs are beginning to notice and interact with items in their environment, and they are realizing their mother is more than just a milk bar. We have seen Lun Lun initiate and the cubs reciprocate in play behaviors. Lun Lun initiates play from the cubs by nibbling and nuzzling them gently. The cubs respond with paw swatting, kicking, rolling, and mouthing. Play rarely involves vocalizations unless somebody bites too hard! Play behaviors are important developmental exercises. In addition to entertainment for the cubs, play behaviors build muscles and synapses, and prepare the cubs for future social interactions with other pandas.


    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  9. #129
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    Monday, December 5




    The cubs are continuing to develop big personalities, and one of my favorite parts of that is watching how Lun Lun interacts with each cub. Cub A is a little more feisty, and Lun Lun tends to wake her up for nursing sessions with gentle play bouts. In the last week, much of the play that we have seen has been between Lun Lun and Cub A. Cub B is much more laid-back and can sometimes even be a bit standoffish. She hasn't discovered playtime as much as her sister (yet!) and prefers to explore her surroundings instead. Cub B's personality also means that if Lun Lun wants to enjoy a quiet nap with one of her cubs, Cub B is most likely to be the cub she naps with. Of course, they also do a good job of swapping personalities every now and then too!
    Jennifer A.
    Keeper II, Mammals
    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  10. #130
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    Wednesday, December 7

    My oh my, how these cubs have grown. It's amazing being away for just one week and seeing how big these girls have gotten. To me they look like they have been growing at lightning speed and have been hitting quite the milestones. They both are already starting to try and stand on all four paws, but still have only mastered the front two. Also, just in time for the holidays, Cub B's bottom teeth have started to come in. Like the song always says, “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth …” I guess in Cub B’s case, that would be her two bottom teeth. It's crazy how fast they grow in such a short amount of time ...
    Katie G.
    Keeper III, Mammals


    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  11. #131
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    Friday, December 9

    As they swiftly approach their 100-day milestone, both cubs are working diligently on their mobility. Since they have mastered scooting, they have decided to skip crawling and go straight to walking. Neither has taken a first step yet, but both girls have stood (very briefly!) on all four feet. They are so much more active now and can be seen working their legs, scooting and trying to stand frequently. In the past, we tried non-slip grip pads on the floor of the nest box to help the cubs get some traction as they are learning to walk; however, these grips did not seem to make any difference, so we have not replenished them as they have worn away. All of Lun Lun's cubs have learned to walk as their legs have the gained strength needed to do so, and these girls are right on track!


    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  12. #132
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    Monday, December 12

    We hope by now you’ve all heard the exciting news that the cubs finally have names: Ya Lun (Cub A) and Xi Lun (Cub B!). Maybe they don’t know their names just yet, but in their world, they’re still continuing on track with their own set of milestones. And a milestone for me is going to be learning to call them by their new names!





    Xi Lun/Cub B isn’t the only one with teeth now! Ya Lun/Cub A, too, has had both of her bottom canines and even one molar begin to grow in. We can also see some bottom incisors, just below the surface on both cubs, that should be coming out soon. Soon enough, they’ll have some beautiful pearly whites!
    Shauna
    Keeper II, Mammals
    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  13. #133
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    OMG!!!!!!!! Lun Lun has both cubbies ������


    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  14. #134
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    Lil tummies and tiny �� paws






    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  15. #135
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    Thanks so much for all the updates, kitty!

    I love, love, love the pic with Lun Lun and both cubs together!

  16. #136
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    She's so tender with them both






    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  17. #137
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  18. #138
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    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  19. #139
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    Wow, they are beautiful girls, love their markings! And already 5 months old!

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