- Created on Thursday, 29 November 2012 19:44
- Written by San Diego Newscape
San Diego, California - The San Diego Zoo's giant panda team conducted the 15th exam of giant cub Xiao Liwu this morning. He weighed 12.1 pounds and measured 25.9 inches long, and all four canine teeth were clearly visible. The four-month-old panda is growing and his measurements continue to be on track with other giant pandas born at the Zoo.
For the exam, animal care staff laid out bamboo leaves, a ball, a chew toy, and an apple slice to provide new sensory experiences for Xiao Liwu, whose name means "little gift." The cub showed curiosity with these new objects by nosing the ball, crawling over to the chew toy and climbing through the bamboo. The Zoo's veterinary staff noted that it's important to allow the cub to move around and explore his new surroundings, which Xiao Liwu did by crawling around on a carpeted area.
But as Xiao Liwu is gaining confidence in crawling and becoming more curious about his surroundings during the exams, nutritionist Jennifer Parson is experiencing more difficulty gathering his measurements.
"It's very important that these interactions are a positive experience for him," said Parson. "I've learned in working with him that he really does not like to hold still, so as much as possible I try to go with him… and get what measurements I can."
The San Diego Zoo's giant pandas are on a research loan from the People's Republic of 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, continues to work on science-based panda conservation programs.
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.
courtesy: San Diego Newscape