Sights of Summer

Summer is almost here, and keepers are gearing up for the busy warm months ahead. Bai Yun and Xiao Li Wu are both still in the temporary enclosures until more construction is completed. At this point we don’t want to release a hard date that they will be moved back to the normal viewing, but please keep your eyes peeled for updates from Zoo staff about any animal movement.

All the bears are doing well, and we have even seen some great increases in weights over the last few weeks. Bai Yun is currently up to 238 pounds, and has been doing most of her eating in the early morning, and late evening. Again, as we are headed into some warm weather, please be patient if you see that she is sleeping in the cave; give her some time to cool off in the shade. All of our bears do have a water feature so they can easily cool off, and lay in a body of water. Although I’ve seen Bai Yun in the past go into her pool, I haven’t seen anything lately, and again this is always up to the bear.

Xiao Li Wu is up to 181.2 pounds, and growing! He has been great for our many guests that come to the viewing area, and he is usually the one that is awake. Recently, as I have watched keepers cleaning his exhibit, I notice that he doesn’t always have that much bamboo left over. This is great to see, and we look forward to watching him grow through the next several months. About to be 5 years old soon, we are looking forward to what this bear has in store for the future.

Remember, when it does begin to warm up the pandas do like to go into the shade of the cave. They may stay there for long periods of time, but for the most part I would say it lasts about 45 minutes or so before one starts moving into view. Please be patient with our staff as they are doing their best to offer the best experience for the guests, and animals here at the Zoo. Keepers do their best to entice animals out into viewing, but again in the heat of the day most animals are going to take advantage of having a choice of relocating to a cool spot.

For any future visits to the Zoo, my best suggestion is to keep your smart phone handy so that you may be able to log onto the Zoo website, push Panda Cam, and you will be able to see the live feed and determine if you would like to come to the viewing area. As we head into our summer season we will still be expecting large numbers to come down to the panda area. We want everyone to have a great experience, but always be prepared for some animals taking a break!

Gao Gao is continuing to do well behind the scenes. Staying alert and interacting well with keepers, and his weight is also up to about 181.5 pounds. Gao Gao continues to get his blood pressure taken regularly, and is responding so well to keepers, and veterinary staff. Thank you to all of you that have been checking up on him, we know how much these animals mean to you!

Anastasia Jonilionis is a panda keeper and narrator. Read her previous blog, Caring for a Gentle Giant.