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  1. #511
    Administrator mykittysmama's Avatar
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    Silly, but clever bear, using his fruitcicle to keep cool by rubbing it on his head ����❤️ @houseofcubs #pandastory








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

  2. #512
    Senior Member protectkidz's Avatar
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    he's a nut!....

  3. #513
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    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  4. #514
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    How Bei Bei Has Started His Summer

    May 18, 2017


    Bei Bei is a bit of a daredevil. Although eating and sleeping are still his favorite pastimes, the giant panda cub loves to climb trees Lately, he has been climbing trees in his yard and sliding all the way down. Giant pandas are excellent climbers, but they are also built to withstand falls. Just as his sister Bao Bao did at the same age, Bei Bei has broken several branches in the process, much to the dismay of the Zoo’s horticulturalists. The young bear has also taken a liking to assorted-sized tubs and spends a lot of time plonked in them—even the little ones that he has outgrown—munching on bamboo or just taking in his surroundings.

    The almost two-year-old was weaned successfully from his mother Mei Xiang earlier this year, which took about a week of adjustment. “After the first week, they move on and live life separately,” says Laurie Thompson, assistant curator of giant pandas. These days, life for Bei Bei also involves a lot of eating and sleeping—particularly on his hammock made of donated firehose that his older sister Bao Bao also used.

    A good eater with a special affinity for bamboo, Bei Bei now weighs roughly 150 pounds—significantly more than his older brother Tai Shan who, at Bei Bei’s age, weighed roughly 130 pounds and Bao Bao who, at 20 months, was about 115 pounds. Last month, Bei Bei passed a mucus stool—a small sticky chunk of mucus—which caused him some discomfort for several hours, but after he passed it he bounced right back. Mucous stools are not uncommon in giant pandas. They usually follow a short episode of abdominal discomfort and decreased appetite. Usually, once a mucous stool is passed the panda feels better and he begins eating and behaving normally. The panda team monitors all of the pandas who are experiencing the signs of a mucous stool carefully to be sure their behavior returns to normal after passing it.

    Keepers have also continued their training with Bei Bei so he learns to show them different parts of his body as well as open his mouth and lie down. He’s also learning to put his paw on or under the enclosure mesh for keepers to look at—behavioral skills that will enable veterinarians to easily examine him, if needed. They have also introduced him to a variety of enrichment toys that test a panda’s physical and cognitive abilities. For instance, they will offer Bei Bei a ball filled with biscuits and observe as he deciphers how best to reach them. These are skills that Bei Bei will most likely master after he turns two.

    “He’s still learning about life,” says Thompson, who has been at the Zoo for more than two decades and helped raise most of Bei Bei’s family. She sees similarities between Bei Bei and his father Tian Tian—both of whom Thompson characterizes as laidback and sweet.

    The panda team is still waiting for Mei Xiang to go into estrus and is monitoring her behavior and hormones closely, but she has not yet shown strong behaviors they would expect to see if the brief window when she is receptive to breeding was imminent. As an older female, she may be past her reproductive years. Tian Tian on the other hand has been very restless and seems to be very interested in Mei Xiang.





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

  5. #515
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    Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute
    3 hrs ·

    The David M. Rubenstein Giant Panda Habitat will close today at 4 p.m. Our female giant panda Mei Xiang is in estrus. Will Mei Xiang and Tian Tian have an opportunity to breed naturally? Yes—if they show an interest in spending time with one another. The bears have had an opportunity to mate naturally nearly every breeding season. Despite these attempts, the panda team has never observed successful breeding between the pair. The Zoo’s team of reproductive physiologists, veterinarians and keepers will stand by to assist breeding and perform an artificial insemination as they have in years past.
    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  6. #516
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    Mei Xiang is Showing Signs of Estrus

    May. 23, 2017


    Mei Xiang, the Zoo’s 18-year-old female giant panda, is showing behavioral and physical signs of estrus. She has been increasingly restless lately and has been calling to the Zoo’s resident male, Tian Tian, who has also spent a lot of time lately looking for Mei Xiang and calling for her. Mei Xiang has been pacing and has also been sloshing about in a pool of water in her enclosure—typical of both males and females ready to breed. Aside from behavioral changes, scientists have also noticed that Mei Xiang’s external genital area is swollen and pink—another indicator of estrus. Her urine samples, collected daily, also show a rise in her estrogen levels which indicates she is close to ovulation.

    Panda breeding can often feel like a race against time, as female giant pandas are able to conceive for barely 36 hours each year in the spring. In that brief window, panda staff hope to give Mei Xiang and Tian Tian an opportunity to breed naturally. “The pandas haven’t successfully bred in the past, but we still give them the opportunity,” says Laurie Thompson, assistant curator of giant pandas. Scientists also plan to artificially inseminate Mei Xiang with Tian Tian’s semen.

    Then, it’s several months of waiting to determine if she becomes pregnant. Because giant panda fetuses are tiny and only develop toward the end of gestation, they aren’t detected in an ultrasound until a week or so before they’re born. In addition, pandas, like several other species, can undergo pseudo or false pregnancies, where they do everything they would if they were pregnant—sleeping and resting more as well as building a nest of bamboo in preparation for a cub. At the end of a pseudopregnancy, however, hormone levels return to baseline and females’ energy levels and behavior return to normal.

    Although Mei Xiang has experienced several pseudopregnancies in the past, she has also produced three surviving cubs—Tai Shan, born in July of 2005; Bao Bao, born in August of 2013; and Bei Bei, born in August of 2015. Because Mei Xiang went into estrus a little later than usual this year, albeit still within the typical March to May timeframe, if she were to become pregnant, her offspring would most likely be born around the end of September.

    Zoo staff are currently preparing for the arrival of their panda colleagues from China, who will assist the Zoo’s reproductive scientists with the artificial insemination process.


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

  7. #517
    Senior Member protectkidz's Avatar
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    we might have another baby!!!!!! so happy!!!!!

  8. #518
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    Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute Scientists Artificially Inseminate Giant Panda Mei Xiang

    May 26, 2017


    The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s team of reproductive scientists, veterinarians and panda keepers performed two artificial inseminations on 18-year-old female giant panda Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) on May 25. The first procedure started at 2 p.m. and the second at 11:30 p.m. Scientists and keepers had been closely monitoring Mei Xiang’s behavior and hormones for the past several weeks. Daily hormone reports showed Mei Xiang’s estrogen levels peaked May 24, an indication that she was ovulating and able to become pregnant. Female giant pandas are only in estrus, or able to become pregnant, for 24 to 72 hours each year.

    Animal care staff closely monitored Mei Xiang and 19-year-old male Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN) for any affiliative behaviors that would indicate that the pair were interested in breeding. The pandas exhibited these behaviors, but at incongruent times; therefore, there was no natural breeding this season. The Zoo’s panda team artificially inseminated Mei Xiang using semen from Tian Tian for the procedures. Li Rengui from the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda was at the Zoo for the procedures.

    Giant panda pregnancies and pseudopregnancies generally last between three and six months. Zoo veterinarians will conduct ultrasounds to track changes in Mei Xiang’s reproductive tract and determine if she is pregnant during the next several months. Scientists will also monitor her hormones to determine when she is near the end of a pseudopregnancy or pregnancy. There is no way to determine if a female is pregnant from hormone analysis and behavior alone. Mei Xiang’s hormones and behavior will mimic a pregnancy even if she is pseudopregnant. The only definitive way to determine if she is pregnant is to see a developing fetus on an ultrasound.


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

  9. #519
    Administrator mykittysmama's Avatar
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    Meeting at the window with Mei @MommyMei98 and Tian @tiantianpanda97 ��#cubbiewatch2017











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

  10. #520
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    #BaoBao'sUncle #Meixiang'sBrother June3rd2017






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

  11. #521
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    What a hoot!

  12. #522
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    Smithsonian National Zoo - Yoga with Bei Bei.


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

  13. #523
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    ^^^ Lol, cute! He's quite the natural entertainer!

  14. #524
    Administrator mykittysmama's Avatar
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    Honey crate, plenty o' boo, dappled sunshine, adoring public: you've got everything you need this morning, @houseofcubs! xo


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

  15. #525
    Administrator mykittysmama's Avatar
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    Another fav of our #TaiShan. Love how happy he looks...and those ears! Those cute �� ears!


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

  16. #526
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    Bei Bei's too big, broke his tree...lol






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

  17. #527
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    Someone's enjoying his nice pool today! @houseofcubs


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

  18. #528
    Administrator mykittysmama's Avatar
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    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  19. #529
    Senior Member protectkidz's Avatar
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    they're going to need to get him some more trees!

  20. #530
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    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  21. #531
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    ^^ Love this!!

    ETA: I remember a time not that long ago when BeiBei would climb a tree then cry for mama to come help him down because he was scared and didn't know how .

  22. #532
    Administrator mykittysmama's Avatar
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    Happy 12th Birthday Tai Shan!


    Last edited by mykittysmama; 07-09-2017 at 10:04 PM.
    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

  23. #533
    Administrator mykittysmama's Avatar
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    Tian Tian @tiantianpanda97 and one of his ducks wondering what went wrong... No treats? Who was supposed to ask the keepers for biscuits??


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

  24. #534
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    ^^^ Cute!! I hope they got their treats !

  25. #535
    Administrator mykittysmama's Avatar
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    Today is Mama Mei's 19th birthday!




    Last edited by mykittysmama; Yesterday at 10:08 PM.
    “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France

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