Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My New Obsession...

My newest obsession has nothing to do with jewelry making.  It's watching all the new panda cubs on Smithsonian National Zoo and Zoo Atlanta's Panda Cams.  I'll admit, my favorite to watch is the National Zoo's Mei Xiang and her little girl.  Don't get me wrong, Atlanta's Lun Lun and her twin boys are just as cute.  But I've followed Mei's journey for a couple of years now and watched last year as she cared for her little cub that died short of being a week old.  Mei has had her struggles and for some reason I feel for the girl.  I also know how important it is to save this species.  I've learned so much about the efforts to save the pandas.  Their reproduction cycles are a big part of why the species cannot keep up.  It's so slow and challenging. So far, this little girl is tough and very healthy. She'll be a month old Friday and she's doubled in size already!  I think it helps that Mei is an awesome mother.  She cares for that baby constantly and only in the past week has she put her down and wandered off to finally eat something.  Which is very common for pandas.  They don't eat or go potty for several weeks after giving birth.  So interesting!  

I captured this images from the Smithsonian National Zoo Panda Cam.  This is Mei and her female cub.

Only 5 zoos in America have panda bears and they're all on loan from China for reproductive purposes.  A specialist from China monitors all efforts.  It's quite an operation they've got going on.  Lun Lun has been interesting to watch and learn about because there are twins.  I learned from their informative site, Atlanta does have the better site for information and updates, that pandas really only know how to take care of one baby.  In the wild, one will most likely not survive if there are twins.  So the Atlanta team switches out the cubs every 4 hours.  So while Lun Lun takes care of one, the zookeepers care for the other.  Or as they refer to them, Cub A and Cub B.  Pandas are not named until their 100th day which is Chinese tradition.  Of course, the naming contests are underway!  And yes, I did enter to win the trip to Atlanta to be a part of the party.  The twins are a month older than Mei's little girl cub.  I'm just glad there's a girl this time.  San Diego had a boy last year.    

Image captured from Zoo Atlanta's Panda Cam.  Their view is smaller and darker.  I did lighten this up so it would show better.   This is Lun Lun and one of her cubs.  They sleep like this a lot.  I hope Mei will when little girl is bigger. 

These cubs grow so fast!  I check every morning and throughout the day, and then again when I'm home.  Told you, I'm obsessed.  When I'm feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, I switch over to the cams.   I feel so much better.   The National Zoo has good camera work.  They zoom in and even have sound.  Oh my goodness, that's so much fun to listen to.  These babies are very vocal.  I can smile and laugh at Mei's cub for hours!  She's a talker that girl.  The Atlanta zookeepers say the twins are too, but I don't know since they don't have sound.   Now for Atlanta, their camera is alright.  The dens tend to be pretty dark. But I've seen some pretty cute moments.  Both cameras are black and white unfortunately.  

I captured this image from the National Zoo Smithsonian's Panda Cam.  Mei and her female cub.  Thought this was a funny position.  These mama bears hold and carry their babies much like we do.  Except they will use their mouth.

Hope you learned a little something and thank you for humoring me while I talk about the babies!  Please hop over to the sites and learn more about the species, raising cubs, and what you can do to help their survival.  On those sites you'll see official color pictures.

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