Update on Our Panda Family

Our panda research team recently traveled to China to meet with a range of our colleagues to discuss our collaborative panda programs, past and future. While the meetings went exceptionally well, a highlight of the trip was seeing our San-Diego-Zoo-born giant pandas at two of the panda bases we visited. It is always a treat to see our panda family while in China, and I am happy to report that they are doing well!


Mei Sheng in Dujivanyan, 2016. The photo at the top of this post is Mei Sheng as a cub.

Mei Sheng is living at Dujianyan, looks to be in great shape, and seems to be quite comfortable in his large enclosure nestled in the hills surrounding the Giant Panda Research Centre. Pan Pan—legendary male from Wolong and the father of Bai Yun—is also in Dujianyan. At the age of 30, he moves a bit slower than he once did, and his physique is not quite as impressive, but he is doing well and certainly deserves to rest on his laurels! I had not seen him in 15 years, but seeing him brought me right back to those early days in Wolong, when he was by far the most successful breeding male at the base.


Hua Mei is thriving and as beautiful as ever!

At Bi Feng Xia, we had the pleasure of seeing Hua Mei. Beautiful Hua Mei! She is as sweet as ever. I called to her just as I would have while she was here in San Diego, and I like to think that she recognized my voice. The adult Hua Mei reminded me so much of Bai Yun. But even watching her sit regally while munching away on bamboo, it was hard to believe that she was 16 years old and a grandmother herself!

While I didn’t get to see Zhen Zhen and Su Lin, I was told that both are in the pre-release training center at Wolong. Zhen Zhen had twins last summer; she is caring for both and the cubs are thriving. Su Lin is also caring for her cub, now 18 months old. While I missed being able to visit that incredibly beautiful location nestled deep in the mountains and see them both in person, I am glad that they both get to raise their cubs with the sound of Pitiao River amidst the peaceful and quiet of Hetauping.

Yun Zi will probably be moved back to the breeding base at Bi Feng Xia next year. I am looking forward to catching up with him then!

Megan Owen, Ph.D., is associate director of Applied Animal Ecology at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. Read her previous post, Climate Change Makes Polar Bears Work Harder to Survive.

Add a comment

Due to the increased volume on our many social media channels, we are unable to respond to all comments or questions. Comments are now posted automatically but may be removed if deemed inappropriate according to the San Diego Zoo Global Blog Comment Policy.


  1. Kate
  2. Marilyn Major
  3. Amanda
  4. MS
  5. al
  6. MS
  7. Amanda
  8. Danielle
  9. Danielle
  10. Panda Di
  11. Danielle
  12. Carolyn Hedrick
  13. Lindsay
  14. Danielle
  15. Lindsay
  16. Danielle
  17. Benjamin
  18. Cynic
  19. Nelly
  20. Danielle
  21. Caroline
  22. Danielle
  23. Robert
  24. Benjamin
  25. James
  26. Danielle
  27. Panda Nation
  28. Cynthia
  29. Linda
  30. Linda
  31. Rebecca
  32. Samuel
  33. Skeptic
  34. Danielle
  35. Danielle
  36. Cynic
  37. AL
  38. Fly on the Wall
  39. Panda Nation
  40. Danielle
  41. Keeper Jennifer
  42. Panda Panda
  43. Danielle
  44. Jane Tomlinson
  45. Panda Panda
  46. James
  47. Rosetta
  48. Kelly
  49. Danielle
  50. JulieP
  51. Danielle
  52. Karen Tse
  53. Flynn
  54. Linda
  55. Rebecca
  56. Karen Tse
  57. Danielle
  58. Clive
  59. Al
  60. Al
  61. Cynthia
  62. Lynn
  63. Benjamin
  64. Linda
  65. Robert
  66. Nelly
  67. Rosetta
  68. Kelly
  69. Caroline
  70. Shari
  71. Panda Inc.
  72. Clive
  73. heather_sd
  74. Rebecca
  75. suzanne in new york
  76. James
  77. Joy H.
  78. Nelly
  79. Flynn
  80. Al
  81. Cheryl Simmons (Long Beach, CA)