Archive for March, 2011

Tai Shan

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Photos by: Pandas International


March 26, 2011 at 2:54 pm Leave a comment

Bifengxia Panda Base Update

From China Panda

Recently, Sichuan and more Heavy snow, Wolong China Giant Panda Protection Research Center Ya’an Bifengxia base is no exception, for several days snow. Unexpected spring snowfall in the Bifengxia base to add a different kind of landscape, to make life here in the Wolong Giant Panda has a really Lehe.

22 afternoon, the author in Wolong “returnees panda park” to see, up and down the snow covered the entire park, is still visible a few days ago has been somewhat shrouded in Spring park into a white.
Spring can be seen in the “returnees Panda Paradise” put on a “quilt”

Montreal snow and snow filled the air of the giant pandas living in the park of the returnees, “Chen-chen” very exciting, back and forth in their activity area run, repeated rolling, and still on the string in between the trees under the jump, A naughty look just like the “crazy girl.”

March 26, 2011 at 4:02 am Leave a comment


From New York Post

BERLIN — Knut, the world’s best known polar bear, is to be stuffed and put on display in a Berlin museum, allowing fans a chance to say their farewells to the animal.

The news came Tuesday as a team of veterinarians tried to define the cause of the four-year-old bear’s death. Three vets took part in the examination of the 300kg (661lb) animal, and were accompanied by a taxidermist to ensure that Knut’s fur was not damaged in the process.

The stuffed polar bear will be placed in the Berlin Natural History museum, close to the world’s largest dinosaur skeleton, The Times of London reported.

The autopsy on the beloved bear found traces of brain damage but until cell samples are examined more closely it will not be clear whether Knut was suffering from early onset dementia or a tumor.

The immediate cause of his Saturday death was drowning — the bear started to turn in circles in his compound, was seen to suffer a spasm in his right rear leg and then plunged unconscious into a moat.

 Knut’s brain damage will not quash the debate in Germany about the bear’s treatment by the zoo management though. Frank Albrecht, an animal rights activist, said that the death may well have been caused “by an interaction of incest, inherited disease and stress.”                                                        

Many Knut fan communities agreed, noting that the male bear seemed particularly downtrodden when he was confined to a compound with three older females, including his mother, Tosca, who had rejected him at birth.

His female companions constantly bit him to show that he occupied the lowest rung in the social hierarchy. When they pushed him away from the feeding trough, keepers decided he should be fed separately. To regular visitors it seemed as though Knut had become apathetic, even depressed.

As for his lineage, the bear’s father Lars was the product of incest. Knut’s great-aunt died in 1975, also at the young age of four, after losing balance, apparently because of a neurological problem, and falling into the water.

Every day since Knut’s death, hundreds of fans trekked to the zoo to lay flowers and candles in his memory. A book of condolence has also been set up close to the compound.

Bernhard Blaszkiewitz, director of the Berlin zoo, has promised to set up a statue of Knut as a cub in the zoo. But it seems that the main site of pilgrimage for faithful admirers will soon be the natural history museum.


 For those against the displaying of Knut ~ Sign Here

March 25, 2011 at 2:57 pm Leave a comment

Wild giant pandas – Possible food shortages

From China News

The heaviest snow to hit southwest China’s Sichuan Province in 20 years may have caused food shortages for wild giant pandas that roam its mountains, a panda expert said Tuesday.

On Sunday and Monday, a rare blizzard hit the mountains of Wolong County, a major habitat for wild giant pandas.

As of Monday night, the snow measured at least 22 cm on the ground, said Zhang Hemin, head of China Giant Panda Protection and Research Center in Wolong.

The center, formerly based in Wolong, moved to Bifeng Gorge in the mountains of Ya’an City near the provincial capital Chengdu after a devastating earthquake in May 2008 destroyed some of its facilities.

Only six of its pandas were receiving wild training, or training on how to live in the wild after they are released from captivity, in a semi-wild, but enclosed area in the mountains of Wolong, Zhang said. “None of them were injured in the blizzard.”

Zhang and his colleagues anticipated no immediate risk for these pandas, as zoologists stealthily checked on them and provided them with food when necessary — an effort to protect them from hunger and other risks without disturbing their “wild” life.

“But the hidden panda population in the wilderness of the mountains may not be as lucky,” said Zhang. “They may have trouble rummaging for food now that the mountain forests are covered with a thick layer of snow and some bamboo is damaged.”

Though the blizzard ended Monday night, the weather bureau has forecast a new round of snow in the coming week.

“We’re watching the weather closely and when the snow melts a little, we’ll send forestry workers to check on the wild pandas,” said Zhang.

About 145 wild pandas are believed to roam in the wild mountains, according to a previous survey conducted by Zhang and his colleagues.

Officials with the Wolong Nature Reserve Administration said the blizzard destroyed about 2,000 hectares, or 2 percent, of forests in the reserve, including 80 hectares of bamboo, the giant panda’s staple food.

The blizzard also disrupted road traffic and power supplies in the county seat and forced 192 primary school students to stay home.

March 23, 2011 at 3:13 am Leave a comment

Beloved Knut

From AZ Central

Berlin’s beloved polar bear Knut, an international star who as a cuddly, fluffy cub graced magazine covers, movies and merchandise, died Saturday. His death at the young age of four took zookeepers and animal experts by surprise.

The celebrity bear died suddenly in his compound at the Berlin Zoo on Saturday afternoon, bear keeper Heiner Kloes told The Associated Press. He waded into the water in his enclosure before having a short spasm and then dying in front of hundreds of zoo visitors.

While the life expectancy of polar bear in the wild is between 15 and 20 years, animals in captivity can live even longer because they are not exposed to hunger, thirst or infections. A postmortem will be conducted on Monday to try to pinpoint the cause of death, Mr. Kloes said.

“He certainly did not die of old age,” Thomas Pietsch from the Vier Pfoten group for the prevention of cruelty to animals told German news agency DAPD.

His death was met by an immediate outpouring of sorrow. As the news of Knut’s death spread through the city, more Knut fans showed up at the zoo, assembling in front of the bear compound to mourn his loss.

Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit called Knut’s death “awful,” telling the B.Z. daily, “we all held him so dear.”

“He was the star of the Berlin zoos,” he said.

Abandoned at birth on Dec. 5, 2006, along with his twin brother, who only survived a couple of days, Knut first attracted attention when his main caregiver, Thomas Doerflein, camped out at the zoo to give the button-eyed cub his bottle every two hours. Mr. Doerflein cuddled and played with him at daily public appearances to the delight of thousands of people who came to watch.

Fan clubs sprung up across the globe, including in Japan, the United States and Germany. Fans followed his every move, including his weight battle – he had a weakness for croissants – or plans to move to a different zoo.

“Knutmania” led to a 2007 Vanity Fair cover with actor Leonardo DiCaprio shot by photographer Annie Leibovitz, a film and plush likenesses. Though the zoo has never released exact numbers, Knut merchandise including postcards, key chains, candy and stuffed Knuts have brought in hundreds of thousands of euros.

He was so adored, and profitable, Berlin’s zoo paid some €430,000 ($600,000) to the Neumuenster zoo to settle a financial dispute over his ownership. Neumuenster owns Knut’s father and had insisted it was the legal owner of Knut, the elder bear’s first offspring.

No longer a cub, Knut grew rapidly, weighing a hulking 200 kilograms by age two, and trading in white fluff for yellowish fur. Mr. Doerflein, the zookeeper who raised him, died in 2008 of a heart attack, earning front page headlines in German newspaper as “Knut’s daddy.”

Between 600 and 700 people were at his compound when Knut died, zoo officials said. One visitor said she watched Knut lying on the surface of the water motionless with only his back showing for ten minutes until zookeepers came and fenced off the compound.

“Everybody was asking, ‘What’s going on, why is Knut not moving?”’ said Camilla Verde, a 30-year-old Italian who lives in Berlin.

“All the zoo keepers who put up the fences were so very sad. One of them said, ‘He was our baby,”’ she said.

Some said they feared Knut had died from all the stress that stardom brings.

“I suspect he died of a heart attack,” said Elke Neumann, who had come to Knut’s enclosure when she heard of his death. “And I hope the medical officials will be able to confirm that it was because of stress.”

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March 19, 2011 at 10:48 pm Leave a comment

Tokyo Zoo suspends viewing of pandas

From Kyodo News

Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo will postpone the public display of a pair of giant pandas leased from China, initially scheduled on March 22, as it will be closed from Thursday for the time being following the devastating earthquake, the metropolitan government said Wednesday.

The Tokyo government said it will also close the Tama Zoological Park, Tokyo Sea Life Park and Inokashira Park Zoo, as it aims to ensure visitors’ safety from the continuing aftershocks and to save electricity.

Power supply shortages are expected for the time being due to the quake-triggered accidents at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

March 17, 2011 at 2:05 am Leave a comment

Giant Pandas in Tokyo UPDATE

From ChinaDaily

The two, female panda Xian Nu and male Bi Li, ate, played and slept as usual even after strong shaking was felt in Tokyo, the center in Wolong, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, cited Huang Shan, a Chinese keeper at Ueno Zoo, as saying.                        

Xian Nu and Bi Li, who were given Japanese names “Shin Shin” and “Ri Ri”, are both aged 5 years.  

Video of Earthquake/Tsunami

Best wishes to the recovery of Japan, and the Japanese people.

March 12, 2011 at 6:36 pm Leave a comment

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