Photos of ZAPandas


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Today's biscuit-themed panda update comes from Jen A.! #ZAPandas #OnlyZooATL⠀ ⠀ If you have followed the pandas for a while, you'll know that giant pandas are creatures of habit. They like to munch on bamboo throughout the day, and if the bamboo isn't quite up to their standards, they are quick to let their care staff know. This can sometimes lovingly earn them the title of "finicky," and we're fortunate to have some tricks up our sleeves to encourage them to eat even when the bamboo isn't perceived by them to be perfect. Another interesting food-related title that giant pandas often receive is "food neophobic." This means that they aren't really keen to try new foods, especially if it is something they have never encountered before. We recently began transitioning the giant pandas to a new type of leafeater biscuit, and they have been slow to decide if the new biscuits are, indeed, food. This is where the amazing creativity of care staff comes in handy, as the panda team painstakingly makes biscuit balls for the pandas each day. ⠀ ⠀ So what are biscuit balls? They are a specific ratio of old biscuit to new biscuit, softened into mush, and rolled into balls. It takes a decent amount of time every day to make biscuit balls for four pandas, and as the ratio of old biscuits decreases, care staff have begun offering whole new biscuits on occasion. Lun Lun and Ya Lun were the first to decide that these new biscuits just *might* be edible. Not to be outdone, Yang Yang and Xi Lun have also decided to give the biscuits a try, much to the excitement of the panda team! None of them are completely sold on the idea yet, but this is definitely progress.⠀ Jen A.⠀ Keeper II, Mammals

14 Hours ago

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Check out today's #panda update! #ZAPandas #OnlyZooATL⠀ ⠀ Since I just learned the giant panda care routine this summer, winter is a whole new ballgame! Now that the weather is cooler, the pandas are spending more time in their outdoor habitats. That means I'm learning new parts of the building and outdoor areas that I've never had the opportunity to use before! One of the coolest things I am getting to do for the first time is shift the pandas through the hallway that leads them from a den in the building to Habitat 2. It is a very long hallway and we walk nearly the same path as the panda moves through (with a barrier separating us from the panda, of course, for safety). It feels like we are taking a walk outside with the pandas as we both stroll to Habitat 2! And at the end, fresh bamboo, and leafeater biscuits for the happy panda!⠀ Michelle E.⠀ Keeper II, Mammals

2 Days ago

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#Repost @zooatl ( @get_repost) ・・・ Check out Yang Yang's sleeping habits in today's #panda update! #ZAPandas #OnlyZooATL⠀ ⠀ One of the most heart-melting aspects of working with the giant pandas is having the ability to come to work first thing and see Yang Yang curled up asleep. He has three large behind-the-scenes rooms to spend the night in, and yet he always sleeps with his head and face squished up into a corner. It's ridiculously cute. One question we always get asked is: "Do you give the pandas anything to sleep on?" The answer: sometimes we do, but for enrichment – if the giant pandas preferred to sleep on substrate, we would always offer it. However, when behind the scenes, our pandas always prefer to sleep on the bare floor or the elevated scale platform. Whenever we offer substrate to sleep on (hay beds, for example), they either completely ignore the hay bed or push it out of the way of their favorite sleeping spot!⠀ Jen W.⠀ Keeper III, Mammals

4 Days ago

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Check out Yang Yang's sleeping habits in today's #panda update! #ZAPandas #OnlyZooATL⠀ ⠀ One of the most heart-melting aspects of working with the giant pandas is having the ability to come to work first thing and see Yang Yang curled up asleep. He has three large behind-the-scenes rooms to spend the night in, and yet he always sleeps with his head and face squished up into a corner. It's ridiculously cute. One question we always get asked is: "Do you give the pandas anything to sleep on?" The answer: sometimes we do, but for enrichment – if the giant pandas preferred to sleep on substrate, we would always offer it. However, when behind the scenes, our pandas always prefer to sleep on the bare floor or the elevated scale platform. Whenever we offer substrate to sleep on (hay beds, for example), they either completely ignore the hay bed or push it out of the way of their favorite sleeping spot!⠀ Jen W.⠀ Keeper III, Mammals

7 Days ago

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Today's panda update comes from Jen W.! #ZAPandas #OnlyZooATL Some people (and animals) like warm temperatures. Other people, like myself (and other animals) like cooler weather. With their dense fur coat, the cooler the weather, the happier giant pandas are! The weather in Atlanta has been blissfully cool this week, and that means we have been able to utilize the outdoor habitats all day, every day. The adult pandas, Yang Yang and Lun Lun, have thoroughly enjoyed being outside. They have spent the whole week chowing down on bamboo followed up by multiple naps throughout the day. Lun Lun is still slowly coming out of her pseudopregnancy, and as we expected, she isn’t as hungry as she usually is, and she still occasionally peels her bananas and eats everything but the peel (something that only happens when her hormones are fluctuating). This is normal and as long as she is maintaining her healthy weight, we'll continue to let her tell us where she wants to hang out for the day and how much she's in the mood to eat! Jen W. Keeper III, Mammals (photo by Jen W.)

12 Days ago

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Today's #panda update is from Danica! #ZAPandas #OnlyZooATL⠀ ⠀ As the cubs have grown, it has been fun to watch their personalities develop, as well as some of the physical characteristics they share with Lun Lun, Yang Yang and their other siblings. The markings on a giant panda are fairly unique, but there are definitely some reoccurring themes in the Yang Yang and Lun Lun family tree. We're still holding out to see if any of the cubs have inherited Yang Yang's famous "Shrek" ears. A few of the cubs, however, have inherited Lun Lun's fluffy, round face. Although I never worked with Xi Lan, I hear frequently that he is just as big of a goofball as Yang Yang is. Ya Lun certainly shows similar eating traits to Lun Lun, meaning that she almost always has food on the brain. Xi Lun also shares her eye patch "swooshing" pattern with her older brother, Xi Lan. As the cubs continue through their sub-adult phase, it'll be interesting to see which other characteristics pop up on their way to being adult pandas.⠀ ⠀ Danica W.⠀ ⠀ Keeper I, Mammals

16 Days ago

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17 Days ago

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Bamboo doesn't stand a chance against Ya Lun and Xi Lun... #ZAPandas #OnlyZooATL⠀ ⠀ Remember when Ya Lun and Xi Lun were just beginning to eat bamboo? It's hard to believe that was only just a little over a year ago! Now, they devour several pounds of it every day. We are currently offering Ya Lun and Xi Lun over 60 pounds of bamboo just overnight. As subadults, the twins are little bamboo-eating machines. They are trying to consume as many calories as they possibly can to fuel their growing bodies.⠀ ⠀ Heather R.⠀ Senior Keeper, Carnivores⠀ ⠀ (photos by Heather R.)

19 Days ago

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It's getting cool enough in the mornings for the pandas to explore their outdoor habitats! #ZAPandas #OnlyZooATL⠀ ⠀ Hello from PandaLand! It's been what feels like an eternity since I last worked with the giant pandas, and what a treat it is. As you may recall from previous updates, Lun Lun has been experiencing a pseudopregnancy, so has been spending more time behind the scenes lately. If you visited the Zoo on Tuesday, or tuned in to PandaCam, you may have noticed that we gave Lun Lun the opportunity to spend the morning out in one of the habitats. She settled right in eating her breakfast, and when she was finished, she thoroughly explored the entire habitat checking out all the sights, sounds and smells. After a short nap, she went straight into lunch. She was calm and relaxed all morning and seemed to enjoy being back out in the sunshine!⠀ Jen A.⠀ Keeper II, Mammals ⠀ ⠀ (photo by Jen W.)

28 Days ago

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Kate has today's #panda update! #ZAPandas #OnlyZooATL⠀ ⠀ Taking care of the basic needs of a giant panda is like riding a bike; it comes back to you quickly. Hello, my name is Kate and I am the Lead Keeper of Hoofstock. ou may be wondering why a hoofstock team member is writing the panda update for today. Well, some of you may remember me, as I started here at Zoo Atlanta 15 years ago as a giant panda keeper. I worked with Yang Yang, Lun Lun and their first three cubs for seven and a half years before I moved to another department, then onto hoofstock a few years later. Being in hoofstock means I am still part of the larger Mammal Team, which consists of the panda, carnivore, elephant and hoofstock areas. When one area is short on staff, we will normally shift our Swing Keepers (those who work in all the mammal areas), but this week they were needed in other areas. So, I got to hop back on my panda care-taking bike and helped out for three days. ⠀ ⠀ Though I have not been working this routine for seven and a half years, it all came back to me quickly. The pandas still love having fresh bamboo and a refill of their leafeater biscuits about every three hours during the day. The care team still has to closely watch and evaluate the type of bamboo the pandas are preferring to eat and communicate that to the Bamboo Team. The giant panda team has to clean up all the waste and leftover bamboo, and securing the leftovers into bundles is as easy as it was when I started once you know the technique. It has been great to spend time with Lun Lun and Yang Yang and see that even though they are older, they still have the same bear personalities that I learned to love so many years ago.⠀ Kate R.⠀ Lead Keeper, Hoofstock

33 Days ago

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Shauna brings us today's #panda update! #ZAPandas #OnlyZooATL⠀ ⠀ Throughout the year, giant pandas go through fairly large fluctuations in weight. Yang Yang, for example, can go from about 123 kilograms (270 pounds) to about 138-140 kilograms (303-308 pounds) in a year. Right now, as expected, they are on the lower end of their spectrum as we are coming out of summer, and they tend to eat a bit less in the summer. With winter fast approaching, they will all begin eating more and packing on the pounds soon. Not surprisingly, they are at their heaviest during shoot season when they tend to gorge themselves on the delicious bamboo shoots that pop up around springtime. ⠀ Shauna⠀ Keeper II, Mammals

35 Days ago

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Check out today's #panda update! #ZAPandas #OnlyZooATL⠀ ⠀ Wild giant pandas typically eat bamboo leaves from April through October when the leaves are fresh and tender. However, our giant pandas rarely eat leaves throughout the summer. They eat a few leaves in early spring when they are brand-new, and then again for about a month in late fall. The rest of the year, they prefer to eat the stem, or culm, of the bamboo. However, this summer, all of the giant pandas have preferred eating new-growth leaves. It's been an interesting and welcome development. New-growth leaves are much easier to find during the summer, as opposed to the old-growth culms that they usually prefer to eat. Our Bamboo Team has not had to struggle so much this summer to find bamboo that the giant pandas will eat. I know this leafing season will not last much longer as the temperatures cool down, but we are enjoying it while it lasts. ⠀ Heather R.⠀ Senior Keeper, Carnivores

40 Days ago

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Today's #panda update is an update on Lun Lun! #ZAPandas #OnlyZooATL⠀ ⠀ As many of you who have followed the giant pandas for a number of years know, female giant pandas can exhibit pseudopregnancy. Pseudopregnancy closely mimics pregnancy in terms of behaviors and hormone fluctuations, but is not an actual pregnancy. Lun Lun has recently been experiencing this. This is not a surprise for us in that we knew that Lun Lun was not expecting, but we are familiar with pseudopregnancy behaviors and hormone changes. Lun Lun has lately been awake and active when we arrive in the morning, sleeping less, and recently she started becoming a bit restless being in the behind-the-scenes dens. So yesterday she got to spend the day in one of the dayrooms. She is still a little restless, but this is expected as her hormones are once again fluctuating. If you visit her at the Zoo, or see her on PandaCam, and notice that she seems to be a little more restless than normal, this is why. Rest assured that this is very normal, and she'll turn back into the bamboo-eating machine that we all know soon enough. On the flip side, Yang Yang is beyond happy to spend some time behind the scenes, as this gives him more opportunities to interact with his care team (read: sucker us into giving him treats)!⠀ Jen W.⠀ Keeper III, Mammals

42 Days ago

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Check out today's #panda update! #ZAPandas #OnlyZooATL⠀ ⠀ While the calendar says "fall," the temperatures in Atlanta still say "summer." With the temperatures still being pretty warm here, the giant pandas are still in their summer mode, meaning they tend to sleep a bit more and eat a bit less. They are also eating primarily leaves, which tends to be a summer behavior. As the days continue to get shorter, the giant pandas' behaviors will begin to change. They will start being up when we arrive in the morning and they will begin bulking up for the colder months. Until then, we will take advantage of our slow mornings to accomplish some of our extra tasks.⠀ Shauna⠀ Keeper II, Mammals

44 Days ago

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Have you caught Idgie on our Panda Cam? #ZAPandas #OnlyZooATL⠀ ⠀ Having a camera to remotely monitor Idgie the red panda is the best thing since sliced bread! We have been taking full advantage of this and keep finding ways to encourage her to use her air-conditioned hut in her outdoor habitat. Currently, this involves splitting her diet into many small portions and running over there throughout the day to entice her to go cool off and eat in her A/C hut. Once she has eaten she will often lie down and take a nap and cool off, but inevitably she wanders back out to the platforms to finish her naps. Idgie is the resident Zoo Diva and is well known for being a little stubborn when it comes to taking advantage of the many ways we have given her to cool off (fans, her air-conditioned house, a cooling pad to lay on, etc.). On your next visit, be sure to stop by and see our little lady - who knows where she will be sleeping the afternoon away!⠀ ⠀ Jen W.⠀ Keeper III, Mammals ⠀ (Photo by Jen W.)

47 Days ago

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48 Days ago

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Today's #panda update is about jolly balls! #ZAPandas #OnlyZooATL⠀ ⠀ Enrichment is something we offer to all of the animals at Zoo Atlanta, and we often prepare enrichment that caters to an individual animal's interests and preferences. As everyone knows, Yang Yang is our resident 21-year-old cub, and really enjoys playing with jolly balls. I thought it would be fun to offer Yang Yang a bunch of his favorite enrichment at once (16 of them total, to be exact). We sprinkled it with the scents of cinnamon and some rubbing alcohol. I don't speak panda, but I think it's safe to say that at the time, Yang Yang couldn't have cared less about the crazy enrichment. He tunnel-visioned in the direction of his bamboo, and plowed through the pile of jolly balls. Sometimes enrichment doesn't work out, and that's okay! We adjust and think of new ideas for next time. This arrangement of enrichment items will probably be offered again when Yang Yang is showing us he is in a more playful mood. I expect he will be much more excited about turning the dayroom into a ball pit when he doesn't have bamboo on the brain. ⠀ ⠀ Danica W.⠀ Keeper I, Mammals ⠀ ⠀ (photo by Danica W.)

49 Days ago

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The next time you visit, you may see someone we know everyone has missed. Danica W. shares an update on Idgie! #ZAPandas #OnlyZooATL Last week we were able to reintroduce Idgie the red panda back to her outdoor habitat in the Asian Forest. After some brainstorming between the Animal Care Team, Maintenance Team and Horticulture Team, we have modified her new ramps and perching to accommodate some mobility issues she is experiencing. Idgie is 12 years old, and red pandas generally live up to their mid-teen years in human care. These new ramps are gradual, have some gripping bamboo “steps” for her while she climbs, and will make the habitat easier for her to navigate. She spent most of the day exploring and took some occasional naps up in her favorite new hut. Like the giant pandas, we’re now able to monitor Idgie with a camera in her habitat, so keep an eye out for Idgie guest appearances on PandaCam! --Danica W. Keeper I, Mammals (photo by Danica W.)

58 Days ago

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61 Days ago

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Danica has today's #panda update! #ZAPandas #OnlyZooATL⠀ ⠀ This past Sunday, we celebrated the last, but certainly not the least, of our giant panda birthdays for the year. Yang Yang turned 21 years old! Yang Yang spent his day doing what he does best: snoozing in the hammock and convincing his care team (actually just me; I'm the biggest pushover) to give him extra treats. We surprised him in the afternoon with several buckets of colored ice, a sugarcane-cicle, all his favorite scents, a frozen "2" and "1" with sweet potato pieces, and the biggest cardboard box he's ever seen! Special thanks to the hoofstock care team who sent it our way. If you were lucky enough to catch it on PandaCam, Yang Yang crawled into the box and spent a few minutes eating leafeater biscuits in there. If you tuned in and couldn't find him, there is a good chance that's where he was.⠀ Danica W.⠀ Swing Keeper I, Mammals ⠀ ⠀ (photo by Danica)

63 Days ago

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Happy 21st birthday to our panda patriarch, Yang Yang! He will get a birthday surprise sometime between 1:30 and 2:30 - pandas are on their own time! If he’s still sleeping at 1:30, we will have to wait until he wakes up to surprise him. #ZAPandas #OnlyZooATL

66 Days ago