Director of Giant Pandas Blog

October 31, 2013 § Leave a comment


Hello

So as of last week Tian Tian was given access back into her on-show den and after an initial bout of shyness towards her new hammock she seems to have finally made friends with it and over last weekend seems to have thrown herself well and truly into the spirit of things and was quite often caught either attacking-in a friendly way-the hammock or doing somersaults on the floor underneath it (who says that pandas sleep most of the time). Tian Tian is still picking her way at bamboo and hasn’t fully returned to eating her “normal“ amounts but she is still above her baseline weight of around the 95kgs so she has some ”spare” weight which she has obviously decided needs her attention before winter.

The outside enclosures of both Tian Tian and Yang Guang have had their autumn tidy up and prune, thanks to our in-house gardens team.

They have removed the large pine tree from Yang Guang’s outside enclosure, as he had destroyed it through his scent marking and scratching activities (with a little additional help from the odd bit of climbing which helped snap branches off the poor tree) and it has been replaced by a smaller pine, some lovely young paper bark birch (Betula papyrifera) and some handkerchief trees (Davidia involucrata) all native to China with the handkerchief tree being another important native of Sichuan province, like giant pandas (and often appearing together in Chinese paintings). The handkerchief tree is also, like the panda, another species that was brought to the attention of the west by Pere David but there is also a nice connection with handkerchief trees to the Scottish plant explorer Augustine Henry. Not that any of this will make a whit of difference to Yang Guang when he is next in his enclosure but it’s nice all of the same to explain a little more about China, through the panda.

And on Yang Guang, he continues to improve but we are giving both him and us more time off show in order to make sure he is fully back to health before he makes his appearance again. He is eating very well but annoyingly, for our gardens team, has decided that only fresh cut bamboo is suitable for him at this time hence the reason why the supply of bamboo around the zoo is slowly being cut down… but then again that’s why we have planted so much of it!

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