Friday, November 8, 2013

November 2013

Wow!  It's been WAY too long since I've blogged here.  So much has happened!  Where do I begin?

It's November already in what has been a difficult year for me.  I lost my job of 16 years and have been searching for a great position since.  It's not easy for me, I've never been good at 'selling myself' but I'm slowly learning - and I do mean SLOWLY!  sheesh!  I have high hopes that I WILL find the right fit for me.

In the mean time, I figure this post will be about introducing you to a very special little girl who is only 76 days old, but will soon be getting her Name - Mei Xiang's cub!  If you don't already know, my favorite panda family lives at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.  They had a son in 2005 - Tai Shan - who now lives in China and is full filling his destiny of finding a mate and producing from his lineage some new cubs for the program (as much as I may not like it, that is what it's all about.  That is why the US is allowed to have giant pandas and study them from top to bottom, literally)  I fell in love with him lock, stock, and heart almost from the day he was born, and when he was shipped off to China in February of 2010, my heart broke in a million pieces.  Thankfully, I was able to follow his departure via a live web broadcast (just like I had followed much of his life)  From the time he walked out the door of his enclosure and into the crate, to being loaded on the truck and then at the airport, being loaded onto the plane and then I watched thru my tears as that plane took off and disappeared into the horizon.  What a roller coaster experience THAT was.  I even made a video from all the screen caps I took that day - you can find it below in an earlier post.

As much as I don't want to repeat that, I know that this new little baby girl is stealing my heart once again. Hopefully, I can keep it in check somehow.  (yeah, riiiiight!)   Here she is at 29 days:

Our little 'Sweetpea' as we have affectionately named her (until December 1st when she gets her true name)  is busy growing strong and learning how to get those little legs under her.  She's scooting around her den, play wrestling with her mom, nursing when she needs to, and just being the cute giant panda that she is.  This stage doesn't last long - as tiny as they are when they are born, they finish their developing very quickly once outside the womb.  I swear, you miss a day or two, and BOOM - you've missed another milestone!

Here she is being cuddled in Mei's loving 'arms' on her 64th day:

Now the little peanut is 77 days old,  8.15 pounds and things are progressing right on schedule.  Mei has even taken her out of the den for a very short visit into the big enclosure that is next to it.  Wasn't for long, but it shows how confident and calm Mei is with her surroundings and her abilities.  'Testing the water's for when she will (probably) move to another den, closer to her outdoor access.

Here are some snaps I took yesterday at 76 days, her eyes are fully opened, her tail is starting to shrink relative to the size of her body, and they report that the keepers are seeing ridges where her teeth will erupt:

Sunday, January 30, 2011

1 Year has passed. . . .

It has been a year since my favorite giant panda, Tai Shan, was packed up and shipped to his native land, China. Born on US soil July 9, 2005, he is part of a global effort to save his species from extinction so that generations to come will know and enjoy this beautiful creature. In the 4 1/2 years I was blessed with to enjoy his presence in the US, I learned many things about the Giant Panda. Tai Shan taught me about his kind slowly, thru laughter, friendships, tears of joy, and the generous availability of information from his keepers, volunteers and staff at the National Zoo. Three other zoos in the US are in the same fight for this species - Zoo Atlanta, Memphis Zoo, and the San Diego Zoo. Zoo Atlanta and San Diego have also been successful in breeding, raising and sending young pandas back to China. All of the pandas that have been returned are thriving. While Tai Shan is just one of many, he has made an such a mark on my life, I will never forget him. I am thankful to the many friends who have made, and who will make the trip to China to check in on our buddy. I sure do miss him, but I know that this is his destiny. It is what he was born to do. I hope he does it well when the time comes! He's not a little baby anymore, that's for sure.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Captive red tailed hawk

This hawk was just grabbing his dinner when I visited the other day. (note, the mouse was already dead, laying on a tree branch. placed by the keepers? I don't know) He flew around with it, kept landing different places, then finally landed in a semi-secluded area of the enclosure and, well. . . .you know the rest. . . :-)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Giant Panda Tian Tian @ National Zoo Washington, DC

September 27, 2009. The last day of this visit, we arrived very early in the AM. It was a drizzely, quiet morning, and we were blissfully alone with the pandas. Tian Tian settled down for his breakfast a few yards from the viewing area. Having him practically to ourselves in the rain and peircing quiet was so wonderful. This is how I love to observe my favorite creatures. I never wanted to leave, but soon enough, the noisey crowds arrived, and we had to make our 7 hour drive back home.

Friday, March 20, 2009

little go-go-rilla....

little go-go-rilla...., originally uploaded by ajna6.

Just another favorite shot of Mandara's baby. She's 9 1/2 weeks old here and is riding on her mother's back.

See more wonderful photos on Ajna6's Flickr pages.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I too think Octomom is irresponsible -236

Here is Mandara - a Western Lowland Gorilla with her new baby girl. Born on January 10, 2009, the infant is still unnamed. The photo was taken by RoxandaBear at the National Zoo in March 2009.

A little bit about Mandara from the National Zoo website:
Mandara was born at the Lincoln Park Zoo in April 1982, and came to the National Zoo in October 1985. Often referred to as “super-mom,” Mandara has had six offspring: Kejana (now at Disney), Kigali, Ktembe (now at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo), Kwame, Kojo, and a baby born on January 10, 2009. She is also the adoptive mother of silverback Baraka. Mandara is an extremely intelligent gorilla. She is a master of communicating her wants and needs to her caregivers. She is the smallest female in the group and can often be seen spending time near her kids, especially Kojo. She has a notch in her left ear, and she has large breasts. When she is indoors, her favorite resting spot is one of the big hammocks.

Gorillas may live about 35 years in the wild, and beyond 50 in captivity.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

This fabulous video was taken by an online friend at the Detroit Zoo. The tiger is named Viktor and he seems none to happy about something. Or maybe he's just calling his mate? Anybody out there speak fluent 'Tiger'?

Video credit: Patti Panda @ Flickr

From the Detroit Zoo website:
Our first cubs were born in 1935. Although the cubs did not survive, the birth was significant, it was possibly the first Siberian tiger birth in America. Two years later three healthy cubs were the start of a long line of Siberian tigers born at the Detroit Zoo.

Zoos work hard to conserve tigers. In 1980 the first AZA Species Survival Plan was developed for the Siberian Tiger The Detroit Zoo's large, grassy tiger exhibit was made even better with the addition of a waterfall in 1996. One of the few cats to enjoy water, the tigers may often be found in the splashing waterfall, stream and pool.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Koalapalooza Days at the San Deigo Zoo

Koala's are some of the coolest creatures, aren't they!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I will pose for this nice human . . . when I feel safe.

Taken off the beaten trail at the William S. Powell Wildlife Sanctuary in Chatham Center, NY. As I was coming down off the cliff area (Dorson's Rock) I heard the scurrying around in the leaves off to my left. Decided it was time to become a statue between 2 trees. Must have stood there for about 15 - 20 minutes in the same position while this little guy peeked at me from his rotten, hole filled stump.

Finally, he came out for a closer look and I started firing away on the shutter. Tryed some different settings (not an easy task when you can't move too much and scare the little bugger) But this one was shot with full 12X zoom on the Canon S5 IS using the SCN - foliage setting. I'm still learning this camera and everytime out I discover something different I haven't tried before. Someday, when it becomes second nature to me, I want to move up to a real digital SLR and try my hand with that. For right now, this camera seems to fulfill my need for finally being satisfied with the photos I'm taking.

For more on the Wildlife Sanctuary you can go here.

Lil Chipmunk in the woods

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Lun Lun @ Zoo Atlanta 10:10pm August 30, 2008

Lun Lun @ Zoo Atlanta Moments later. . . .and out popped baby!!  10:10 PM August 30, 2008

Well, folks, we have another panda cub to love! Last nite, while watching the Zoo Atlanta panda cam (that was still broadcasting due to Lun Lun's impending birth) the most amazing thing happened!! I witnessed Lun Lun give birth to her second offspring. What an amazing thing to see in real time.

Many thanks to Zoo Atlanta for their broadcast! It was special moment shared by friends online all over the world.

We are sending our hopes and well wishes for the continued health and welfare of this newest addition in the fight for this endangered species!! Congratulations!!