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Giant Panda Cub Birth at San Diego Zoo Garners Love and Concern for Endangered Species!
The San Diego Zoo strives to learn about giant pandas and save them from extinction. The zoo used social media to share pictures and information about the newborn cub, captivating a wide-reaching audience and possibly inspiring a generation of conservationists.
A panda cub at the San Diego Zoo received its first veterinary exam. The cub is healthy and weighs 1.5 pounds.
As animal lovers gush over a newborn giant panda at the San Diego Zoo, they are raising awareness of the species' threatened existence. Zookeepers hope that the pandas’ beauty will attract the crowds, but that their tragically small population will keep them there—possibly inspiring a new generation of conservationists.
Experts estimate that only 1,600 giant pandas exist and only 11 live in the United States, so news spread rapidly when the cub was born at the San Diego Zoo on July 29.
"The birth of a giant panda cub is such a rare event. Its birth alone brings so much awareness to giant pandas. People start wondering how they can help, so the event reaches a higher level than the birth itself," said Kathy Hawk, a lead panda keeper at the San Diego Zoo, told the Daily News.
Zoo veterinarians examined the newborn Panda, for three minutes on Aug. 22 while the mother, Bai Yun (White Cloud), left their den to eat. The medical team confirmed that the panda is in good health and weighs about 1.5 pounds. Since they finished quickly - as to not distress the cub or Bai Yun - the researchers haven't yet determined the baby panda's sex.
Adhering to Chinese tradition, the cub will not receive its name for at least 100 days, the zoo tweeted.
This critically endangered species is on loan to the San Diego Zoo from the People’s Republic of China. The People's Republic of China loaned a few giant pandas to the San Diego Zoo so that it could research the species that has been harmed by habitat loss, according to a press release. The zoo's wildlife conservancy is committed to rescuing the species from impending extinction.
Hawk has worked with the pandas since Bai Yun, the zoo's first giant panda, arrived from China in 1996. "I've known her since she was 4 ½. By watching her grow and develop, we have learned so much about giant pandas," Hawk explained.
Bai Yun proved to the zookeepers that pandas are incredible intelligent. Over the years, Hawk developed a close rapport with Bai Yun. Hawk has been able to perform ultrasounds, draw blood and train Bai Yun to lie down on command, all without drugs to sedate her. "The trust you can have with an animal like that still blows my mind," said Hawk. "We do things I never thought were humanly possible." Bai Yun will be 21 years old in September, so Hawk was shocked and thrilled when she discovered Bai Yun was pregnant.
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20 Year Old Panda Gives Birth to New Cub at San Diego Zoo!
(CBS/AP) San Diego Zoo has welcomed a record-breaking sixth panda cub.
Officials say the birth of 20-year-old Bai Yun's latest offspring gives the zoo the most births at a breeding facility outside of China.
Bai Yun has birthed all the cubs born in captivity at the San Diego Zoo, CBS News affiliate KFMB in San Diego reported. The new mother almost broke another record. She was a few days shy of being the oldest panda known to give birth.
Zookeepers and researchers watched the birth Sunday afternoon via a closed circuit camera mounted inside the birthing den. Zoo officials told KFMB that they didn't know the panda was expecting until late in her pregnancy because of her age. They expect this will be her last cub, but acknowledge that it is up to her.
In a blog post, zoo officials say Bai Yun immediately scooped the cub into her arms and comforted the newborn.
Because of Bai Yun's advanced age the pregnancy was considered high risk, but zookeepers say mother and baby are doing fine.
Zoo officials won't know the sex of the cub until they examine it in several months. It won't develop its black and white markings for a few months either.
KFMB reported that the cub will be named on its 100th day, according to tradition. Zoo visitors will be allowed to vote for the name.
It will be a while before Bai Yun and the new cub are on display but the public can glimpse them on the Panda Cam at the zoo's website. The new mother and cub are bonding, and visitors can expect to see them in the exhibit around December 2012, according to KFMB.
China's Chengdu Panda Base has released what may be the most adorable video you will see all day: four baby pandas racing down a slide.
Chengdu is marking its 25th anniversary with Panda Awareness Week (PAW), which includes several events around the world to spotlight efforts to increase the numbers of healthy panda bears in the wild.
The video is incredibly entertaining, as the baby pandas race back up the slide for repeated turns. Near the end of the video, one of them literally rolls head over paws at the bottom of the slide:
"Our ultimate goal is to help pandas return to their natural habitat and to grow the number of giant pandas living in the wild," said Dr. Zhang Zhihe, director of the Chengdu Panda Base, in a press release. "We hope that Panda Awareness Week helps us effectively widen the support for panda conservation and find new advocates for this very special cause."
The organization opened in 1987 when 6 giant pandas were rescued from the wild. Chengdu is now the largest captive breeding panda reserve in the world and hopes to house more than 150 pandas over the next 10 years.
Find information to volunteer at Chengdu in China. And watch more panda videos at the Chengdu PAW YouTube page, including this clip of pandas on an obstacle course.
In something of a remarkable coincidence as it is Panda Awareness Week, a baby giant panda was born today at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo for the first time in 24 years. In the words of one of the zoo’s veterinarians, “This is a really good thing.” The baby panda, whose sex is not yet known, is the first born in Tokyo through natural mating, rather than artificial insemination. Soon him/her will be at the center of some real "pandamonium".
The baby panda was born to Shin Shin and her partner Ri Ri, who came to Tokyo from China in February of 2011. They are on lease from China, at an annual cost of about a million dollars and were presented to the public in March of 2011, shortly after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Cameras recorded the two pandas mating in late March and keepers then concluded that Shin Shin was pregnant from changes in her hormone level, a lessened appetite for about two weeks and more time spent sleeping. Last week, keepers said that Shin Shin might be pregnant, says Reuters; they had no way to determine this exactly until, around noon on Thursday, they saw her holding a small object to her chest.
The difficulties of successfully breeding rare animal species in captivity are highlighted in the New York Times. Zoos are currently seeking to bread some 160 endangered species but, according to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, 83 percent of those species in North America are not making their breeding targets. The disappointing success rate has led to questions about whether zoos should be in the breeding business at all: “I’d be happier about captive breeding if I thought it helped wild cheetahs,” said Luke Hunter, president of Panthera, a nonprofit group that works on global conservation efforts for big cats in the wild, including cheetahs. “Free of threats, they breed like rabbits in the wild. They don’t need super costly assisted reproduction — they need a place to roam.” Should funds rather be directed to preserving wildlife species and habitats, where animals have no difficulties mating? Yes.
baby panda, whose sex is not yet known, is the first born in Tokyo through a natural mating,