July 23, 2013
The Zoo’s panda fans can now live stream 24-7 the high and lows of DC’s much-loved couple, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian. After more than a month of upgrades, the National Zoo relaunched their Panda Cams to allow multi-device access to the furry couple.
The two cameras show the pandas in their dens and outside as they lounge and play in their yards. Female Mei Xiang’s den has an enhanced HD camera trained on her every move, so without having to refresh the page, her fans can see her sitting upright or lounging languorously, the two activities that occupy most of a giant pandas’ days.
“Giant pandas can easily spend about 16 hours of the day eating bamboo,” says zoo keeper Juan Rodriguez. “But since bamboo is not that nutritious, they have to eat a lot of it in order to maintain their weight. In fact,they can eat between 50 and 110 pounds a day, depending on the time of year.”
Mei Xiang, who turned 15-years-old yesterday, and the 14-year-old male Tian Tian were both born in a giant panda research and conservation center in the Sichuan Province in China and came to the National Zoo in 2000. The popular power couple have had two cubs together, one of which died last year a week after it was born. Their surviving cub Tai Shan, born July 9, 2005, was returned to China three years ago.
Zookeepers are keeping a close eye on Mei Xiang this summer for signs of pregnancy after she was artificially inseminated last March. There is only a two to three day period each year in which pandas can become pregnant, and with the bears’ endangered status, Zookeepers are hoping to see another successful birth this year. Earlier this month, keepers videotaped an ultrasound procedure. Mei has been trained to enter a specially designed enclosure, deliver her arm through a slot for examination or blood pressure checks, and to lie down comfortably so that veterinarians can easily access her stomach.
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