Viewing entries tagged giant panda
From mid January to the beginning of March our beautiful female Giant Panda, Funi, went through her second pseudo-pregnancy, which saw her experience all the things she would if actually pregnant. Symptoms included hormonal fluctuations, loss of appetite and prolonged episodes of sleep. This is very normal for female pandas to go through even if they haven't successfully mated during a breeding season. This year has been very different to last in the way she has behaved and we were thrilled with what we have seen knowing that next year it could actually be the real thing!
Adelaide Zoo's beautiful Giant Panda, Funi, loves to smile! Photo by Dave Mattner © Zoos SA
During October Dr Wendy Foster, Rebecca Ma and I traveled to China to meet with Chinese partners working on the Giant Panda program and of course, some pandas!
This trip was an opportunity to further strengthen the zoo's relationship with our Chinese counterparts as well as for me to learn more about an important conservation program for Zoos SA, not only because we host Wang Wang and Funi at Adelaide Zoo but because China's Sichuan Province is one of our focuses for international conservation support.
The Giant Panda breeding season has now come and gone. Unfortunately Wang Wang and Funi were not successful this time around. As the pair is still so young it was decided to allow them another natural mating attempt this year. This decision was made to ensure the team, and the pandas, had the chance to experience two full breeding seasons naturally to further develop and learn from what occurred last year. There were many positives to come from this year's season. It seems the continued introductions between Wang Wang and Funi throughout the year really helped. Funi, again, did remarkably well and seemed much more composed this year, trying to stop most of the play behavior from creeping in. Wang Wang also improved this year, particularly on the second day of introductions when he showed he had the ability to take control of the interactions and be a more dominant male.
Wang Wang and Funi are a compatible pair but a bit too young still to mate successfully.
With the 2012 Giant Panda breeding season now complete plans are underway for the use of artificial insemination in 2013.
Although Wang Wang and Funi are clearly a compatible pair, young age and inexperience has prevented a successful mating in their two breeding seasons to date.
Australia's only Giant Pandas, and the first to reside in the southern hemisphere, Wang Wang and Funi have come together for the annual breeding season.
Introductions are currently taking place in an off-limits area where the pair can be closely monitored. It's important there is minimal disturbance during this time and we thank our members and the public for their support during this crucial stage of the breeding program.
Adelaide United FC have joined the cause to raise money for the endangered Giant Panda. In a special initiative, the Reds will help raise awareness of Zoos SA and our Giant Pandas at this Friday night's home game against the Newcastle Jets. Players will display the 'Panda' logo on the front of the shorts for the clash at Hindmarsh Stadium, and the club will auction the panda shorts after the clash, with all funds raised to be donated to Zoos SA.
The most defining observation that came from the breeding introduction period was that Wang Wang and Fu Ni get along so well together. We are so lucky to have such a compatible pair. Wang Wang is such a lovely male and allows Fu Ni , the cheeky little lady that she is, to get away with a lot.
I'm sure you're all aware of what has been happening in panda land... Wang Wang and Fu Ni were put in together towards the end of September in an effort to try to have our first natural mating. It was a very exciting day when we first opened the slide and let Wang Wang in with Fu Ni. It was interesting that unlike any animal introductions that I have done in the past I had very little worry or concern that it would not go smoothly. Giant Pandas are solitary in the wild and both Wang Wang and Fu Ni had not been together with any other pandas since they were young. During the past two years we have frequently given the pandas access to each other through mesh. This was allowing them to smell and touch each other but only in protective contact, making sure that they could not injury each other.
Over the two years the keepers have never witnessed any negative behaviour between Wang Wang and Fu Ni. They have always seemed very tolerant of each other and although when she was not in season they did not show much interest in being in together, they would still most of the time go up, have a sniff and a bleat and then walk away.
Our Giant Panda introductions continue to progress well. Here are some photos from Day Two, which shows our Wang Wang and Funi getting along very well. There hasn't been a mating yet but signs are looking great :-)
I wonder what Funi is saying to Wang Wang?
It’s Panda Day at Adelaide Zoo today, with Wang Wang and Funi introduced for breeding purposes. The introductions are taking place in the off-limits area where the Giant Pandas can be closely monitored. The panda exhibit will remain closed during this time as it is important there is minimal disturbance to the pair.
We have been very busy getting ready for Spring here on pandas. Spring means possible Wang Wang and Funi introductions! We are all starting to get excited and there is a real buzz happening in the panda building.
We have been very busy preparing our introduction and breeding plans as well really concentrating on our panda training. Some time ago I wrote about our new training cage that was specially made for Wang Wang and Funi. The materials were donated by Mayfield Engineering Company (Leightons contractors) and an employee of theirs, Nick Atkinson, spent hours putting the materials together.
I wanted to write briefly about two wonderful pandas that I was able to see while at the panda base.
The first is about a wild caught female that has been at the centre for number of years. She was found in the wild with what is thought to be an injury that occurred from an illegal snare trap placed out in the forest. When she was bought into the panda base, her front left paw was so badly injured that it had to be amputated. The good news is that she was able to make a full recovery and a couple of years ago she even gave birth to twins, adding more genetic diversity to the captive population.
Well, we have been very lucky over here! Luo Bo has been very hospitable with us indeed... Jason, myself and Cooper (from Washington Zoo) were able to go in with 6 two year old cubs! Incredible.
Have been having a wonderful time here in China and being able to see so many beneficial things that will help us in the future.
We have met up with Luo Bo again, one of the staff members that came over to Adelaide with Wang Wang and Fu Ni. It has been so nice to catch up with him, he even remembers some of the Aussie slang we taught him....when we thank him for anything he always replies with a big smile on his face and says "no worries mate".
Well, to say that we have been lucky is an understatement here at the panda base. We have been so lucky!!!! Yesterday was our first day back at the base since I left with Wang Wang and Fu Ni by my side. It was strange to come back as all the excitement and anticipation of the past events came rushing back! Now 18 months on from my first meeting of Wang Wang and Fu Ni I am back, a lot wiser but still with so much to learn.
Hello from China!
Well, myself and Jason finally made it to Ya'an today after a busy 3 days of travel! We left on Monday, first stop Hong Kong for one very full day! We actually arrived at 10:00 at night on Monday, had a good sleep and then Tuesday morning got up early and headed to Ocean Park! Our mission...to meet the Panda Keepers there, ask a million questions, make good contacts and basically learn as much as we could about their panda programme!
Adelaide Zoo senior keepers left for China on April 4 to learn more about the Panda mating process, as the only Giant Pandas in the Southern Hemisphere, Wang Wang and Funi, near their first potential breeding season.
Senior Panda Keeper Simone Davey, and Assistant Curator Jason Hakof, will spend two weeks at the Bifengxia Panda Base near Ya'an, learning ways to maximise the chances of successful panda matings.
Well I have been back at it for the around two weeks now and straight back into it! I have to say it is nice to see my black and white friends again.
I came into the zoo a few days before I officially started back at work with Eveline Dungl, the Panda Curator from Zoo Vienna or Tiergarten Schönbrunn. After my wonderful time over at Zoo Vienna a few weeks earlier it was my chance to show her around Adelaide and Monarto Zoo.
Well my week has finished at Tiergarten Schönbrunn (Vienna Zoo). I had such a wonderful time there and was made so welcome by the wonderful staff on the Panda (and Koala!) rounds. I feel that I have made excellent contacts for the future in regards to Giant Pandas as well as some new friends.
While it snowed on the first two days of work the rest of the time was just very cold!! Sometimes the sun would pop out to say hello and try to melt some of the ice that had formed on the ground but mostly it was a must to have beanie, gloves and a very thick jacket!!! Of course the pandas didn't seem to mind, I would watch them eating the freshly laid out bamboo in the snow. They did show a favour to being inside on the really cold days (-2 degrees) just like how Wang Wang and Fu Ni tend to favour the inside when it is very hot for us!