Jan 1, 2013 6:05 PM
The following is a release from the San Diego Zoo:
Giant panda cub, Xiao Liwu, was a very busy boy during his weekly exam this morning at the San Diego Zoo. When brought from his den, the rambunctious cub went straight to his toys, climbing headfirst into a doughnut-shaped plastic ring, playing with a ball and frolicking in a tub while chewing bamboo. He quickly indicated - by running off and squirming from his keepers - he wanted to play versus being weighed and measured.
The cub's 20th exam showed the 22-week-old is healthy and developing well. He is stronger, more agile, and continues to erupt baby teeth and is mouthing, chewing and teething a bit. The young cub weighed in at 16 pounds and measured just over 30 inches in length from nose to tail tip.
"Xiao Liwu was very active, very strong, and very exploratory during his exam this morning," said P.K. Robbins, senior veterinarian at the San Diego Zoo. "He is moving about very quickly and exhibiting great confidence in his strength and climbing abilities. At this rate, I think we will see him venturing into more areas of the giant panda habitat very soon."
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.