Huntington Gardens Sending Bamboo to Feed San Diego Zoo Pandas

The three pandas at the San Diego Zoo are getting bamboo imported from the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens as part of an effort to diversify their diet. The bamboo, harvested from large stands of bamboo that have grown in the Pasadena-area gardens for many years, represents a diversity of species that are not currently as available in the San Diego Zoo’s own groves.

“At the San Diego Zoo, we have been cultivating and harvesting our bamboo for almost two decades,” said Michael Schlegel, nutritionist for the San Diego Zoo. “By making use of the Huntington’s resources we are able to give our stands a rest, allowing them to grow more fully for harvest in future years.”

The Zoo's giant pandas will soon be

An adult giant panda can eat about 40 pounds of bamboo each day.

Zoo horticulturists harvest the Huntington’s bamboo weekly, bringing back about 200 pounds each trip. The variety, amount and quality of the bamboo stands offer high-quality food for the well loved black and white animals in San Diego.

“When the zoo dietician contacted us about harvesting some of our bamboo for the pandas, we were happy to help. Thinning the groves is healthy for the plants, and we had plenty of it to spare, especially around our Chinese and Japanese gardens.  Some species of bamboo are native to China, and since pandas are finicky about what they eat, it’ll be interesting to see if they like those best,” said David MacLaren, Curator of Asian Gardens at The Huntington.

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution serving scholars and the general public. More information about The Huntington can be found online at

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is inspiring children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.