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  1. #61
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    Amazing!

  2. #62
    Administrator mykittysmama's Avatar
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    Thursday, September 22

    We get a lot of questions about whether Lun Lun knows she has two cubs and how we distinguish the cubs from one another. In 2013, we weren't entirely sure Lun knew she was caring for both Mei Lun and Mei Huan, although we thought she probably could tell based on smell and small personality differences. This time around, I think we’re pretty sure Lun realizes that she has two cubs.

    Both cubs are very vocal and don't hesitate to get loud if their needs aren't met quickly. This is very different from Mei Lun and Mei Huan at this age. This means that Lun can hear them much easier when they are in the nursery near swap time. We've had a couple of times where she has gotten up to attend to a fussy cub only to find that the one in her arms was quiet and content. Of course, this means that a swap always follows shortly so the other cub can get its time with mom!

    On top of that, the cubs already seem to have different personalities and preferences. We've shown you how the cubs prefer to sleep when they are in the nursery awaiting their next turn with mom. These preferences are similar to how they prefer to sleep with Lun. Cub A (on bottom) prefers to sleep tightly snuggled under Lun's chin. You're most likely to see just its head on PandaCam. Cub B, on the other hand, prefers to sleep loosely snuggled and can usually be seen lying on its back nearer to Lun's armpit. Both cubs even nurse differently. Cub B is very efficient, while Cub A takes a little longer to get comfortable before meals.



    In the nursery, the easiest way to identify the cubs is by their weights. As their coloration continues to come in, we'll be able to see more differences in their coat patterns. This will even out as the cubs get bigger, but it will be a big help over the next few months. The cubs' weights fluctuate throughout the day, but as of the last swap, Cub A weighed 440.3 grams and Cub B weighed 509.9 grams.
    Jen A.
    Keeper II, Mammals
    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  3. #63
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    Very interesting article, mkm!

    I think mama Lun knows exactly how many babies she has .

  4. #64
    Administrator mykittysmama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maryjane [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
    Very interesting article, mkm!

    I think mama Lun knows exactly how many babies she has .
    I am sure she does, after all these are cubs number 6 and 7...lol Lun Lun is an experienced mom.
    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  5. #65
    Administrator mykittysmama's Avatar
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    Friday, September 23

    One question we get asked often is why we don't let Lun Lun care for both cubs at the same time. Why is cub swapping a necessity to ensure both cubs' good health? As you've seen, our newest additions have a lot of developing to do before they resemble their parents and older siblings. At this stage, the cubs are still nursing every two to three hours. They cannot regulate their own body temperatures, and they lack the motor development and muscle strength to walk or even be able to scoot in a coordinated manner. Lun is so busy caring for one cub (and resting when she can), that if we gave her the second cub, she likely could not provide adequate and equal care to both cubs. This is true of most giant panda moms, and not just Lun Lun (although she is definitely a supermom!).

    This is what makes cub swapping such a valuable and useful technique. During this critical stage, we are able to give Lun the opportunity to give both cubs the attention and care that they need to grow and develop. And the good news is the cubs are thriving! Over the next few months, the cubs will continue to grow and develop, and they won't need so much attentive care from mom (or us).

    So to answer your next burning question, when will Lun Lun be able to care for both cubs at the same time? Because the cubs need such intensive care during the first several months of life, we will wait to give Lun this opportunity until we are confident that both cubs can walk and nurse from Lun with minimal assistance on her part. This won't be for another few months and will depend on the growth and development of these two cubs.





    While we're looking forward to seeing our newest trio together, we're very focused on the day-by-day right now. Our new little family is continuing to do well. That's the most important milestone of all!
    Jennifer A.
    Keeper II, Mammals
    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  6. #66
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    Swapping gives both of these babies the best chance of survival, very interesting how it's all so organized .

    It will be fun to see them all together for the first time in a few months, though!

  7. #67
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    Saturday, September 24

    While Lun Lun is busy with her twins and eating for all three of them, she is still a typical panda and being picky about her bamboo. Lun Lun is eating about every three hours and enjoying her biscuits, fruit, and lots of bamboo. But not just any bamboo. Only bissetii or yellow grove. Only with culms under a half an inch in diameter. And of course, only when presented just the right way.





    In other news, if you were fortunate to tune to PandaCam this afternoon, you may have gotten a peek at Mei Lun and Mei Huan playing inside the tire swing in Dayroom 2. It's always amusing to watch them play and engage so much with their enrichment. I have to say, it's the first time I've seen a panda sitting in a tire swing going around in circles. They never cease to make me smile!

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

  8. #68
    Administrator mykittysmama's Avatar
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    Feeding time-Lun Lun and one of her cubbies-so sweet & cute


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

  9. #69
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    Sunday, September 25

    Hello from the overnight shift! I take care of Lun Lun and the cubs in the wee hours when most of the world is asleep. Lun Lun is often more sleepy at night, too, but she still cares for her cubs just as diligently. The cubs are growing so quickly under her care! Both cubs have adorable fat bellies and are now over one pound. Cub B is getting fuzzier each day and the pink skin is fading under the white fur. Cub A is still quite pink and has a lot of dark coloring around its mouth. Their tiny claws have gotten longer and sharper in the last week. It's amazing how rapidly they change.





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

  10. #70
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    I love their little fat bellies...lol Cub A is quite a bit balder than cub B.
    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  11. #71
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    The new twin cubs 3 year old twin sisters Mei Lun and Mei Huan.


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

  12. #72
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    Monday, September 26

    Making your Monday with a couple of chillin’ panda cubs! It’s oh-so-amusing, coming into work and the first thing I notice is how much these little cubs have changed in just two days. They are so much bigger and furrier than before. One thing that is so amusing to me is their sleeping positions. Let’s just say that these two love to relax. I especially love the “chill” pose with their paws resting under their heads and their back legs crossed. That one is the best! When they yawn, it’s pretty adorable too. I’m always amazed at how wide they can open their little mouths.





    Well, I leave you with these adorable pics of the cubs and their “chill” pose. Stay tuned to find out what other interesting things happen in Panda Land.
    Katie G.
    Keeper III, Mammals
    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  13. #73
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    Tuesday, September 27

    Cub A (pictured) has hit a huge milestone! It has finally surpassed its littermate and is heavier than Cub B. This is a huge deal because Cub A has been smaller since birth. The cubs have been neck-and-neck for a few days now, and while it's not a race, it's exciting to see A finally catching up.





    Remember those temporary identifiers that I mentioned last week? The cubs' black markings are pretty solid now. Cub A has black pigment around its face and along its chin. The lower edges of its saddle are fairly smooth. Cub B, on the other hand, has less pigmentation along its mouth and nose, and the lower edge of its saddle almost appears to have a divot in it.

    While these identifiers aren't super-obvious, you may be able to use these to identify the cubs via PandaCam ... but only if Lun lets you get a glimpse! The cubs' most recent weights are: Cub A 685.1 grams and Cub B 674.5 grams.
    Jennifer A.
    Keeper II, Mammals
    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  14. #74
    Administrator mykittysmama's Avatar
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    Love it when mamma looks right at the camera, showing off one of her babies


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

  15. #75
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    Wednesday, September 28

    Cub B always cracks me up every time I come in for a shift. It is always sleeping, laying or doing something that is funny. The other night, Cub B decided to sleep with its tongue sticking out. Which is very similar to another animal I work with, Kavi the Sumatran tiger – Kavi is one that always has his tongue sticking out too, and it always amuses me. It's like Cub B and Kavi the tiger have created this cool new crew at the Zoo. Maybe for us to be as cool as they are, we need to constantly be having our tongues sticking out as well? Anyway, everyone here is doing awesome, and the cubs are still growing like super-fast weeds. Every day now it seems like they are changing, even in the most minute way.





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

  16. #76
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    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  17. #77
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    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  18. #78
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    Thursday, September 29

    There are some interesting similarities between our newest panda cubs and their older sisters, Mei Lun and Mei Huan. Because we take so many notes during the first few months after panda cubs are born, we can confidently say that developmentally, these two are right on track with their sisters for this age. They are continuing to grow at a very rapid pace!





    Let's start with the similarities between our firstborns, Cub A (pictured) and Mei Lun. They were both lighter than their siblings at birth. Mei Lun was 99.1 grams, and Cub A was 109.2 grams. Cub A and Mei Lun were developmentally a day or two behind their sibling for the first few weeks, which is completely normal but is still interesting. Both Cub A and Mei Lun developed the darker pigmentation around their mouths and chins. It is also interesting that Cub A and Mei Lun were known as the "fussier" cub of the litter.

    In contrast, Mei Huan was 145.3 grams, and Cub B was 132 grams at birth. They have tended to hit developmental milestones first (at least so far for Cub B). Cub B and Mei Huan had much less black pigmentation around their mouths. They were also known as the quieter and "easier" cubs because they were more laid-back than their twin.

    It's really neat to be able to compare two sets of twins together. We already know we will have our hands full with our newest twins, but I'll be very interested to see if their development continues to have so many similarities to their big sisters!
    Jennifer A.
    Keeper II, Mammals
    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  19. #79
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    LunLun and cubbie this AM-so sweet


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

  20. #80
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    Friday, September 30

    Being a giant panda nursery keeper is an immense responsibility, and we stay busy. Our first priority is the health and well-being of Lun Lun and her cubs. For Lun Lun, that means everything from feeding her and cleaning her dens, to monitoring her for appropriate maternal care of the cubs, or noting any behavioral or physical changes. Currently, Lun Lun is still uncomfortable leaving the cubs for extended periods, so we continue to feed her to encourage her to eat and drink enough each shift. To care for the cubs, our duties include stimulating the cub in the incubator to eliminate, ensuring that the incubator cub is warm and comfortable, monitoring the cubs' weights at each swap to confirm Lun Lun is continuing to provide them with enough milk, and documenting any behavioral or physical changes.

    We also clean and disinfect floors, sinks, door handles, light switches, desks, cabinets, refrigerators, and any other possible surface multiple times per day to reduce the risk of spreading germs into the nursery. Cleaning one incubator alone can take up to two hours! We launder the incubator bedding, keeper uniforms, scrubs, towels, and sheets used in the nursery. We wash dishes. We clean up urine and feces and sometimes collect samples of those from Lun Lun. We pick up bamboo shards and bundle larger pieces of bamboo left over from Lun Lun's meals.

    We take extensive notes describing Lun Lun's care of the cubs. We have multiples forms and logs to fill out documenting body weights, incubator temperatures and humidities, body temperatures, room/den temperatures, urine and fecal output, bamboo and biscuit consumption. You name it, we make note of it.

    We nursery keepers are also currently controlling PandaCam. The image of Lun Lun and the cubs on PandaCam is the image we use to monitor Lun Lun so that we do not disturb her when she is caring for the cubs. Sometimes we sit in the den area near her so we can hear the cub nursing, but as we have many other duties to attend to, we use the Cam to keep an eye on her when we are busy elsewhere or when she is resting. We do not sit at a computer screen all day/night staring at Lun Lun and the cub and track every move. We do monitor her closely, but at any given time, we are doing any number of the tasks as I referenced above (or forgot to mention).

    I do not describe the work we do each shift to complain. Far from it. As I said, we nursery keepers have an extraordinary responsibility and we work very hard to keep Lun Lun and her cubs healthy. It's not an easy job, but every day it is rewarding to see the cubs growing under Lun Lun's meticulous care. I am so proud to be part of the such a dedicated team.





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

  21. #81
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    Saturday, October 1

    It's been a few days since I've seen the young twins, and my, how they've grown! I feel like we are starting to sound like broken records at this point, but it's so true. They are gaining weight like champs, and their black markings around their noses and mouths are proving to be great identifiers. Lun continues to be a great mom and is participating excellently in the care of the twins. Like all moms and caregivers know, part of taking care of little ones is also finding time to take care of yourself. You may begin to see Lun setting the cubs down in the hay for a little time while she goes to get a drink or something to eat, or maybe just to rest in one of her favorite positions. This is totally normal and expected. As they gain weight and their fur grows in, they become better and better at regulating their body temperature. As an experienced mom, Lun knows when it is okay to take a break from her snuggles to focus on herself for a bit, but don't worry, she'll be back to them shortly.





    And speaking of other milestones for the cubs, now that they’re almost a month old, our daily keeper blog posts will be switching to Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. You’ll continue to see all kinds of panda cub goodies on Zoo Atlanta social media (so be sure you’re following us everywhere!), and look forward to enjoying the keeper posts from the nursery team on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Mark your weekly calendar, and keep watching the Cam!
    Jenny E.
    Lead Keeper, Carnivores
    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  22. #82
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    Love those little (getting big!) feets, it's so fun and interesting following these beautiful and smart animals. Kudos to the zoo/keepers for all the updates - and to you, too, mykittysmama !

  23. #83
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    Monday, October 3

    The most common question we get about the twin panda cubs is how do we do the swaps. Now that the cubs are big enough and old enough for Lun Lun to put them down for a few minutes, the swapping is really quite easy. Lun Lun is left with access to an adjacent den to the one you see on PandaCam. When it's time to swap cubs, we ask Lun Lun to put the cub down and come over into the next-door den. We reward her for coming over with biscuits, fruit, and lots of bamboo. As soon as she has allowed us to shut the door behind her, we can safely enter the den with the cub and retrieve it. After that cub has been weighed and put into an incubator, we give Lun Lun some alone time to eat and do what she pleases. We then leave it up to Lun Lun to let us know, by vocalizing or going to the shift door that leads back to the den, that she is ready for the other cub.

    Right now the swaps are about every four hours, but we are always keeping an eye out for when Lun Lun is hungry and an ear out for when the cubs start letting everyone know that they are hungry too.

    This method is safe for both the pandas and their care team and allows for the cubs to get equal time with mom and some alone time for Lun Lun!

    And by the way, in case you’re counting, the twins are 1 month old today!





    Happy 1 month birthday precious babies!
    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  24. #84
    Administrator mykittysmama's Avatar
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    I love the updates that Zoo Atlanta gives us, they are so educational!
    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  25. #85
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    I know this isn't a panda...but I have never seen a squirrel like this before. Pic taken at the Dallas zoo.


    Dallas Zoo Verified account
    ‏@DallasZoo

    Our rare piebald #squirrel in action! �� Keeper Russell P. caught this sneaky Zoo guest trying to steal some #elephant snacks.


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

  26. #86
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    Cute squirrel! Looks like he knows right where the snacks are .

  27. #87
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    Wednesday, October 5





    For Cub A and Cub B, I have already noticed some differences between the two of them. For instance, their faces. When looking right at their muzzle, you can see that Cub A (pictured) has full coloration around its mouth, whereas Cub B does not. Cub B only has partial coloration around its mouth. Another is their size. Cub B still manages to stay in the lead compared to Cub A. Although Cub A has passed Cub B a couple of times, Cub B still seems to stay in first place when gaining weight, but only by a few grams. Not that it’s a race at all! The only other difference that I see is that Cub B is more hairy than Cub A.
    What other differences do you see?
    Katie G.
    Keeper III, Mammals
    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  28. #88
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    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  29. #89
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    Friday, October 7

    This week Lun Lun has become more active and is eating well. The cubs have a nice layer of fur now, so she is more comfortable leaving them in the nest box for short periods of time. A week ago, Lun Lun was only getting up to eat when it was time to swap the cubs, but now, she is up every couple of hours for a snack of bamboo, biscuits, and produce. Lun Lun is eating so well that she is already back to her pre-birth weight of 105 kilograms. We are pleased that Lun Lun's appetite has returned. It is very important that she eats and drinks enough to continue to supply both cubs with her milk. Lun Lun is also willingly participating in training sessions. She has returned to sitting on the scale regularly, and I was recently able to shave her forearm in preparation for the vet staff to draw a blood sample.




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

  30. #90
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    Monday, October 10

    My, oh my, have these cubs grown. They are getting bigger and bigger every day. They are changing so much. Cub B is starting to open its eyes. Before you know, it they will be climbing all over the place, and pestering mom, like every child does. And before you know it, they will be learning how to eat bamboo just like the other pandas. But we’ve got a ways to go yet before it’s time for that!





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

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