- Created on Wednesday, 12 September 2012 21:54
- Written by Imperial Valley News
San Diego, California - The panda cub at the San Diego Zoo is starting to take a peek at the great, big world around him. During an exam on Wednesday morning, veterinarians noted that the cub's eyes are beginning to open, which is right on track for this 45-day old panda. It will take about 20 more days for his eyes to be fully open. The cub's ears, which began opening last week, have continued to progress.
During the 12-minute exam, the cub remained calm and relaxed, allowing staff to complete a full range of panda measurements. The cub now weighs 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms) and measures a bit more than 16 inches long (41.5 centimeters). Animal care staff are pleased with his growth and his weight gain; his abdominal and chest girth - 11.8 inches and 12 inches, respectively - show that he is nursing well from his mother, Bai Yun.
The San Diego Zoo follows the Chinese cultural tradition of naming the giant panda after it is 100 days old. Starting Sept. 17, 2012, the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy will begin taking name suggestions for the male cub on its website, http://www.sandiegozooglobal.org. The names must be submitted in Chinese pinyin, which is the official system to transcribe Chinese characters into Latin script, and significance of the name must be included to be considered. The Zoo will take submissions until Monday, Sept. 24, 2012.
Panda fans can watch Mom and cub in the den at www.sandiegozoo.org/pandacam to help them get ideas for the cub's name.
Bai Yun, whose name means "white cloud," has given birth to six cubs at the San Diego Zoo: three males and three females. Her previous five cubs, in order of birth, have been named Hua Mei (China USA), Mei Sheng (beautiful life), Su Lin (a little bit of something very cute), Zhen Zhen, (precious), and Yun Zi, (son of cloud). The cub's father's name, Gao Gao, means "big big."
Four of these six cubs have moved to the People's Republic of China where they have joined the giant panda conservation and breeding program. Giant pandas are on a research loan to the San Diego Zoo from China. As part of this long-term program, the Zoo is also collaborating with the Chinese Academy of Science in studies of behavior, ecology, genetics and conservation of wild pandas living in the Foping Nature Reserve.
Only 1,600 giant pandas are believed to exist in the wild, and the species is primarily threatened by habitat loss. San Diego Zoo Global, in conjunction with Chinese panda experts, is working to support science-based conservation of the species.
The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy is dedicated to bringing endangered species back from the brink of extinction. The work of the Conservancy includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, and international field programs in more than 35 countries. In addition, San Diego Zoo Global manages the Anne and Kenneth Griffin Reptile Conservation Center, the Frozen ZooTM and Native Seed Gene Bank, the Keauhou and Maui Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Centers, San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike Breeding Facility, Cocha Cashu Biological Research Station, the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center, and a 800-acre biodiversity reserve adjacent to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.