Ready for your Saturday panda update? #ZAPandas #OnlyZooATL
While Lun Lun is busy with her twins and eating for all three of them, she is still a typical panda and being picky about her bamboo. Lun Lun is eating about every three hours and enjoying her biscuits, fruit, and lots of bamboo. But not just any bamboo. Only bissetii or yellow grove. Only with culms under a half an inch in diameter. And of course, only when presented just the right way.
In other news, if you were fortunate to tune to PandaCam this afternoon, you may have gotten a peek at Mei Lun and Mei Huan playing inside the tire swing in Dayroom 2. It’s always amusing to watch them play and engage so much with their enrichment. I have to say, it’s the first time I’ve seen a panda sitting in a tire swing going around in circles. They never cease to make me smile!
Giant Panda + Iron Man + Tai Chi = Iron Panda, the superhero China’s endangered panda population deserves and needs. He’s also the work of Beijing-based artist Bi Heng. Iron Panda measures 9 meters (29.5 feet) high and 7 meters (~23 feet) wide and he’s currently on display in Shenyang, the largest city in China’s northeastern Liaoning province.
Heng’s Iron Panda is a combination of the Giant panda’s symbolism as a Chinese national treasure and a victim of humanity’s impact upon the natural world, Iron Man, a superhero representing extraordinary technological advancements, and the Chinese martial art of Tai Chi. He view these three combined elements as a statement of how the environment is suffering for the sake of advancing technology and a message that there should be a better relationship between industrial development and the natural world in order to preserve and protect nature rather than destroy it.
The giant panda is a so-called conservation reliant vulnerable species. For many years the panda was considered endangered, but in March 2015, the wild giant panda population increased by 268, or 16.8%, totaling to 1,864 individuals. In 2016, the IUCN reclassified the species from “endangered” to “vulnerable”. That’s good news, but the giant panda population is still far from healthy.
Habitat loss and extremely poor reproductive skills are the main reasons the panda is struggling. A fortune is being spent every year to save the panda, and it’s only because of the incredible cuteness factor of this charismatic animal that the conservation efforts have been successful.