Stress Busters

Posts filed under Stress Busters

At the nursery in Bifengxia Panda Base

Filed in General, Stress Busters

One of Xi Mei’s cubs

Xi Mei gave birth to twins, male (older) and female (younger), at Bifengxia Panda Base on 11 July 2012. As she cannot care for both at the same time, one of them was taken to be raised in the nursery at birth while the other remained with her, but they are swapped every few days so they can each spend time with her.

At 2 months old, her cubs have outgrown the incubator and now sleep in a wicker basket in the nursery.

One of Long Xin’s cubs

Long Xin gave birth to twins, both girls, at Old Wolong on 28 July 2012. One of them was later brought back to Bifengxia Panda Base and is currently in an incubator in the nursery there. At almost 7 weeks old, the cub is strong enough to lift her head and look around her.

One of Si Xue’s cubs

Si Xue gave birth to twins at Old Wolong on 15 August 2012. One of them was later brought back to Bifengxia Panda Base and is currently in an incubator in the nursery there.

Born in 2006, Si Xue is also the first from that year to become a mother.

Tale of a lounger and the new resident

Filed in Stress Busters

Fu Long’s ex lounger

The round disc of wood is the right armrest of the lounger in Fu Long’s ex enclosure. The panda living there when I visited in May 2012 was Cui Cui. Is she responsible for what happened??

“Yeah, I did it. You got a problem with that?”

Everyone, meet Ling Ling, father of many cubs, including (off the top of my head) Taipei Zoo’s Tuan Tuan.

Ling Ling and Cui Cui swapped enclosures just yesterday. When I saw the lounger this afternoon, I asked keeper Liu Yi if Cui Cui had done it. I didn’t think the new resident was responsible since he’d just moved in. But keeper Liu said it was Ling Ling’s handiwork.

He seems to like it this way, too.

Happy Birthday, Gong Zhu!

Filed in Stress Busters, Travels

My beautiful Princess

She’s 14 today and I got to be with her this birthday.

I’d adopted her in September 2008 after my first volunteer trip to Bifengxia Panda Base in August that year. I’d helped to look after her for a week during that trip. After I returned home, I thought about it and decided to adopt her.

Mystery solved

Filed in Friends, People, Stress Busters

I’ve been wondering which keeper from Bifengxia accompanied Yang Guang and Tian Tian to Edinburgh Zoo, and now I know.

Scott with Edinburgh Zoo’s Head of Giant Pandas Alison McLean and Pambassador Jeroen Jacobs (Photo:

Scott Xie Hao is a seasoned giant panda keeper and American-born giant panda Mei Sheng’s first keeper when the black and white furball returned to Wolong in 2007. Scott worked for a while in the admin offices in Bifengxia and also spent some time in Old Wolong as part of the “re-introduction to the wild” team.

Ever since my 2008 visit to Beijing to see my adopted panda Feng Yi and the rest of the “Olympic 8″ team, I’ve been interested to know which keepers are sent to accompany pandas on loan to other zoos in China and overseas, mainly to see if I know the keepers, and also to assure myself that the pandas are in good hands.

In the case of Edinburgh Zoo, I am assured that Yang Guang and Tian Tian are in the good hands of an experienced and gentle keeper who will share his knowledge with their new keeper.

Good to see you again, Scott!

Trip Update

Filed in Stress Busters, Travels

We’re at the tail-end of Mollie’s “Great Panda Adventure”. We were in Fuzhou on 16 and 17 August to see Basi, Long Fei, Lin Yang and Zi An, and in Bifengxia Panda Base between 18 and 24 August for her to see her San Diego “babies” – Hua Mei, Mei Sheng and Zhen Zhen.

Since there would be no access to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube while in China, I thought I would be updating via my blog. But just before I left for the trip, I learned about a Facebook feature that allows photos or videos to be emailed to a Facebook user’s account. So I activated the feature and used it to email in some photos. As a result, I did not use my blog to update about the trip.

Mollie finally got to see her babies again – Hua Mei after 7 years, Mei Sheng after 4 years and Zhen Zhen after nearly a year. Her fourth baby, Su Lin, is in old Wolong with her own newborn cub.

I got to see my adopted daughter, Gong Zhu, and her 2010 cub (from a distance, he was up in the trees).

We also got to see the usual Bifengxia attractions, including the cubbies. Usual for me, but Mollie’s very first time.

We also participated in the 1st Joint Birthday Celebration of Wolong’s Overseas-born Pandas on 21 August. 21 August was also Hua Mei’s 12th birthday; it was the reason Mollie visited Bifengxia at this time of year – to celebrate Hua Mei’s birthday.

There were 6 birthday cakes for each of the 6 overseas-born pandas – Hua Mei, Mei Sheng, Fu Long, Tai Shan, Su Lin and Zhen Zhen. A total of 6 keepers and 18 volunteers participated in the event, with 1 keeper and 3 volunteers per cake (decorating and presenting to the panda). Each of the 5 pandas in Bifengxia got their cakes while Su Lin’s cake went to the four cubs in the same “neighbourhood”. I asked for Mollie and I to be allowed to do Hua Mei’s cake. And so we got to deliver the cake into her enclosure and to watch her come in and … reject the cake. Instead, she was more interested in the bamboo platform that supported the cake.

More photos here.

The celebration was covered by the local media, and we appeared on the local TV news, becoming “international media stars”. Here’s the coverage.

We’re off to Chengdu very early in the morning to try and see Atlanta-born Mei Lan at the Chengdu Panda Reserve. And then, it’s homeward-bound, me to Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, and Mollie to San Diego, California.