Baby Panda Thursday #76

Remember last week I told you about the Natural World Special that was to be shown on BBC Two on Tuesday? Well, I watched it and here are my findings.

  • “We have pushed the symbol of conversation to the brink of extinction.”
  • Hehehe, he said International Rescue.
  • Around 2000 giant pandas remain.
  • How can it be a carnivore but only eats grass?
  • Founded with just six pandas.
  • That woman looks really happy to be carrying the panda. Wouldn’t you??
  • They say the ultimate goal is to release them into the wild, which seems odd. The pandas aren’t that good at looking after themselves normally, let alone after having been bottle-fed.
  • When they reach 300 pandas, they will start to reintroduce them – so that there’s a good base to start from.
  • None of the right kind of bamboo grows near Chengdu. Doh.
  • Some people are climbing into the mountains to cut down the bamboo for the pandas. It might have made more sense to build the panda base near the food.
  • Apparently the pandas reject two thirds of what is brought back. Ungrateful beasts!
  • A giant truckload of bamboo lasts the pandas only one day, so there are lots of cutters who have a regular income from the greedy bears.
  • One panda is just sitting and eating. A worker puts another piece of bamboo in, it grabs it and starts chewing on that instead. They are so cute and lazy.
  • There’s one 12-24 hour window for pandas to get pregnant in a whole YEAR.
  • They are making the male pandas do special exercises to strengthen their legs specifically for the act of mating.
  • You know that whole thing of animals leaving their scent to scare off others? Pandas like to climb their back legs as high up a tree trunk as possible to pretend to be taller. They ain’t foolin’ no one though.
  • One panda is unfortunately called Pin Bin. It could be Pin Pin. It could even be Bin Bin. I’m not sure. I should have put subtitles up.
  • They have tested one female who is ready for mating and brought Pin Bin into the cage next door.
  • They have tried to use bamboo to tempt the male towards the female, but he just sat down and ate it.
  • They’re saying it’s the first time she’s ever been near another adult panda. And then seem surprised that they don’t know what to do once they are thrown together.
  • They have had to give up on the whole mating thing. Silly pandas.
  • “It’s a myth that pandas aren’t interested in sex. They’re just picky about their partners.”
  • They ran out of time trying to get the two pandas to mate so they’re doing things artificially instead.
  • There’s quite a lot of pressure all round, considering they only get this chance once a year.
  • He has just blown a tranquiliser dart at the panda. Kinda like in the movies. Although then it’s not pandas, and more people.
  • It’s taking 15 vets to do all this. Madness. But then again it only takes five minutes for them to do it, so the panda can be woken up again in good time.
  • They’re so fluffy and cute.
  • They’re not going to know if the panda is pregnant or not until just before she gives birth, and that could be anywhen between 11 weeks or 11 months. I’m beginning to think these pandas are just plain awkward.
  • Now they’re talking about family inbreeding, and freezing bits and pieces.

  • A New York fashion designer Ruth Harkness had a pet panda. She was the first person to have a panda in the Western World. It ended up in the zoo.
  • Pandas were used as political creatures once communism took over – both to distract and to help forge relationships.
  • In 1990, they realised the pandas were becoming scarce, so they stopped being given out as gifts, and instead they loaned out pairs of pandas to zoos – for cash and research.
  • Apparently under the terms of these loans, all the baby pandas still belong to China. That may be why they keep getting given Chinese names, and not Percy and Penelope.
  • A panda born at Zoo Atlanta is going back to China, and is in a FedEx truck going towards a FedEx plane. I didn’t know you could FedEx pandas!
  • The panda they have shipped to China is all sad and depressed – she’s not eating or anything! Boo.
  • Phew. Six months later, she is eating again.
  • The panda they spent all that time fussing around earlier isn’t pregnant after all! Darn it.
  • Because they can’t tell whether pandas are pregnant or not, they are ALL given extra rations. I swear this programme is all about food.
  • Uh, newborn pandas are not cute at all.
  • Pandas can only deal with one cub at a time, and this one just had two, so they nabbed the spare one before she could even notice.
  • That may be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Yawning panda, yawning baby panda.
  • The keepers are sneaky! Pandas can’t look after two babies, so they try and distract the mother with a bowl of honey water, and then switch out the panda cubs throughout the day so they end up looking after them both!
  • Up to ten times a day!
  • Talk about being swapped at birth.
  • Awww. Four and a half month old cubs. Now they are cutie pies. Crawling around the play pen. When they are six months, they get their own pen.

  • These people have the best job in the world.
  • Apparently they have now made it to the magical 300 number, so now they will be looking to set them free into the wild. I think?
  • “They will have to establish and defend a territory, choose their mates, and raise their cubs alone. Is that possible? The truth is no-one knows.”
  • I think we do know.
  • They’re reintroducing them into panda conservation territory though, with separate zones depending on how hardy the pandas will turn out to be. They reckon it will take 15 years.

3 thoughts on “Baby Panda Thursday #76

  1. As lovely as these animals are, it seems like they require a lot of effort just to stay alive. The people involved in this must be truly dedicated to do all the stuff you blogged about above!

  2. I watched this program and I was stunned at how impossible it is to produce more adult pandas. Despite all the problems with mating opportunities the thing that stunned me is that if a female panda has more than one cub she looks after one and just lets the other one die and she is prepared to give that one up for a bowl of honey water.

    It is a miracle there are any pandas at all.

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