This morning Susan and I got up early to see the new baby panda, Xi Lan (pronounced shee lahn, which means “Atlanta’s joy” where Lan is short for Atlanta). Born in August and briefly rejected by its mother, Lun Lun, Xi Lan was named on December 8 after 100 days, and only went on exhibit in the last week or so, and only for short times in the mornings. We got to the zoo shortly after it opened at 9:30 and got to the Panda area before 10:00 when they typically would let Lun Lun and Xi Lan into a glassed in area. We got to see the father Yang Yang who is kept in a separate area (though he can see Lun Lun and Xi Lan through the glass, but doesn’t seem to care; in the wild male pandas don’t take part in raising the cubs and rarely see their mates). Also the earlier panda baby, Mei Lan, is in her own area. At two years old, she looks fully grown and will probably leave the zoo this year. It was very cold (in the 30’s) but the pandas didn’t seem to mind. Xi Lan came out, but seemed to want to go back into the off-exhibit area except that Lun Lun would go and drag him back so that she could keep an eye on him while she ate the fresh bamboo in the public area. The zoo staff was pretty good about keeping people quiet and saying that if people made a lot of noise the pandas would go back inside.
Afterwards we went to see Susan’s favorite, the red panda. What I didn’t realize was this red panda is new, named Shandy. The previous red panda, Izzy, left in November to go to St. Louis to find a boyfriend.
One nickname for a red panda is firefox. They do look a lot like a fox. But in the logo below they went with an actual fox instead of a red panda: