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Photo via Smithsonian’s National Zoo

It’s like the Oscars for gianta pandas…

The big news shared by the Zoo over the weekend:

“The giant panda zoo awards were announced yesterday and Bao Bao won silver Panda Personality of 2014, and the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat won bronze Favorite panda enclosure outside of China!”

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Photos: Devin Murphy/Smithsonian’s National Zoo

From the Smithsonian’s National Zoo:

“Today was Bao Bao’s first time playing in the snow outside! And she was quite the little snow panda. She spent her morning tumbling down the hill in her yard, climbing and sliding down trees and pouncing on her mom Mei Xiang!

Giant pandas live in mountainous bamboo forests in China, during the winter it can be very cold and snowy.”

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UPDATE – It gets better:

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Photo by PoPville flickr user angela n.

From Smithsonian’s National Zoo:

“For everyone wondering about giant panda cub Bao Bao, she chose to spend last night outdoors in a tree. Staff determined that Bao Bao touched a ‘hot wire’ in her yard yesterday afternoon. This is a safe warning system used by Zoos for containment. Her reaction was to climb up a tree where she feels safe. This behavior is predictable. Bao Bao is perfectly fine and like all Zoo animals, she is still learning the boundaries of her habitat. Keepers decided to give Mei access to the outdoor yard overnight and she choose to stay with Bao Bao, a likely scenario for a mother panda to stay with her cub in the wild. A keeper stayed overnight in the panda house just in case they decided to come inside. The staff are adjusting the pandas’ routine today and are confident that Bao Bao will come down when she is ready.”

Bao Bao
Photo: Connor Mallon/Smithsonian’s National Zoo

From the National Zoo:

“This update was written by keeper Nicole MacCorkle.

We’ve noticed Mei Xiang and Bao Bao are spending increasing amounts of time apart from each other, and Mei is permitting Bao Bao to nurse less often. Sometimes, they even sleep in separate enclosures, a sign that they are beginning the separation process themselves. By definition, weaning begins once a baby, of any mammal species, is introduced to solid foods and is complete when milk is no longer being consumed. Giant pandas begin to eat solids around 6 months of age. Since July, Bao Bao has been receiving her own daily diet of leaf eater biscuits, apple, carrot and cooked sweet potato, in addition to Mei Xiang’s milk and the bamboo she eats from Mei’s daily diet.

Before July, she was sampling bamboo, produce, biscuits, and even mini fruitsicles. At over 14 months old and nearly 60 pounds, Bao Bao seems much more independent than her older brother Tai Shan did at this age, so we expect the separation to be even easier with her. When Tai Shan was weaned at 19 months of age, Mei Xiang made it clear, through her behavior and vocalizations, that it was time for him to separate. At times, Tai Shan seemed a bit unsure of his new solitary lifestyle, but he transitioned smoothly and quickly, and we expect it to be the same for Bao Bao. Like any giant panda cub, weaning is just another milestone for Bao Bao, and we know she will do just fine!”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user dullshick

From an email:

Night of the Living Zoo is happening on Thursday, October 30th from 6:30pm-10pm. It’s guaranteed to be a night of spooky fun with live music, costume contests, adult elixirs and scary oddities.

“Prepare to witness death defying acts and amazing oddities at the Zoo’s annual Halloween event, Night of the Living Zoo. With live music, a costume contest, performance artists, and glow in the dark lawn games, it’s a wicked night of fun that you won’t want to miss.”

Tickets available here.”

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Photo of Gisela via Smithsonian’s National Zoo

From the National Zoo:

“We’re sorry to share that one of our golden lion tamarins, Gisela, was humanely euthanized Monday. She was hospitalized on Saturday for renal failure and liver dysfunction. She had been undergoing treatment for kidney disease for about 8 months. Gisela was born at the Zoo in March 2006 and participated in the golden lion tamarin free-ranging program with her family. At 8.5 years old, Gisela outlived the median life expectancy for golden lion tamarins in the wild, which is 8 years old. Four of Gisela’s younger siblings live at the Small Mammal House. Golden lion tamarins are endangered, but thanks to breeding efforts and a reintroduction program encompassing zoos (including the National Zoo), conservation organizations and the Brazilian government, there are now 3,000 living in the wild in Brazil.”

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Photo: Janice Sveda/Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

Though still saddened by Shama’s passing these photos of her cubs are making the morning much better.

From the National Zoo:

“All of the red panda cubs born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute this summer are growing! Five cubs–born to Regan, Low Mei and Shama–are being hand-reared by keepers. They are bottle-fed three times a day, and have received their first solid foods. Keepers are offering them bamboo and soaked apple biscuits. So far, the cubs mostly just gnaw on the bamboo and lick the biscuits.

The cubs are becoming more mobile, and keepers are starting to see some play behaviors from them.”

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Photo: Janice Sveda/Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

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Photo: Janice Sveda/Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

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Photo: Janice Sveda/Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute