PANDAMONIUM 1. Welcome to Wolong : English Language

how to buy inderal online {“en”:”Blind and helpless, this panda cub is just a few weeks old and doesn’t even have a name. But although he doesn’t know it he’s very special. He’s the latest symbol of a success story, which might save one of the world’s endangered species from extinction. So popular. The problem with pandas is there aren’t many left. Seriously endangered, there are only around 1,600 giant pandas left in the wild. And it’s not their fault. Deforestation means the pandas’ habitat, and the precious bamboo on which they depend, has been devastated by man. And as their habitat has become fragmented, the chances of pandas meeting and mating with other pandas aren’t very high. China’s solution to the problem came in 1983, in the shape of the Conservation and Research Centre at Wolong in Sichuan Province. Set in the heart of the giant pandas’ natural homeland, the plan was simple – make more pandas. Wolong wouldn’t initially help wild pandas, but it would be a sort of panda insurance policy against the species disappearing altogether. But captive pandas were notoriously difficult to breed and for many years the Centre failed. Times have changed. Breeding pandas is no longer a problem at Wolong.

There are around 60 pandas at the centre and dozens more Wolong pandas live in reserves and zoos across China and abroad. The number of Wolong’s captive bred pandas has increased from just 10 in 1990 to about 130 today. There’s no longer a shortage of pandas here, because behind the scenes of fur, fun and frivolity, something more serious is happening. A year in the life of Wolong’s giant pandas and keepers is far from straightforward Reaching the point where Wolong’s fortunes have reversed has been a long and painful process With relatively little known about the habits of wild pandas, much of what they’ve learned at Wolong is due to simply watching and waiting. In this unique series, filmed, within Wolong’s walls we will witness the delight, disappointment and even despair that comes with reproducing giant pandas.

All year long, throughout the seasons, we will have a rare glimpse of the private life of some of the planet’s most precious pandas And consider what their future holds It’s Autumn and the birthing season at Wolong. Hidden away inside the Centre’s special breeding pens some of this year’s pregnant pandas have already given birth. Pandas are naturally solitary creatures, particularly when pregnant, so they are isolated in separate pens. The bars are partly to make them feel safe and secure and partly to protect their keepers. Pandas are generally passive, but they will attack if they feel threatened. They may look cute and cuddly but an adult female panda weighs around 100 kilogrammes and has powerful bamboo-crushing jaws.

The newest mother on the block is 8 year old Ye-Ye who gave birth just a week ago. Her neighbour Hua Mei gave birth a month before. As did some of the others. Pandas, like humans, vary greatly in their maternal instincts. Some aren’t very attentive to their cubs. But not this panda. The most revered mother of all and aptly named Princess. She’s given birth 5 years in a row.

All the pandas were impregnated at the same time in the spring using a mixture of natural mating and artificial insemination. But there are still a couple of pandas who haven’t given birth. Eight-year-old Mao Mao is expected to do so very soon. The problem is that it’s very difficult to know exactly when she’ll give birth as a panda’s gestation varies dramatically, from 3 to 5 months and occasionally even longer. During the birthing season in August and September the pandas are monitored around-the-clock.

Because one of the greatest problems with breeding pandas is the cub mortality rate. Just yards from the breeding pens are some of last year’s 18 baby boomers. They’re living proof of the breakthrough in panda breeding, and the first sign that Wolong might become a victim of its own success. These pandas were separated from their mothers when they were around 7 months old. Earlier than wild pandas, who usually go it alone when they are about 18 months old. In the wild, year-old adolescents wouldn’t be in the company of so many peer pandas, but male cubs in particular will still jostle with their mothers in practice for surviving alone. Critics complain that continual human contact might prove detrimental to any future attempts to releasing these pandas into the wild. The pandas might become too dependent on humans to fend for themselves. But at this stage the priority is simply to produce more pandas. That’s not a problem here! Some of these pandas are twins, which happens in about half of all panda pregnancies.

Adolescent twins are now common at Wolong, but in the wild, surviving twins are unheard of. No-one knows why, but female pandas never raise twins and actively abandon one cub after birth, usually the weaker cub. Ye-Ye’s twins were born a week ago, but she only has one tiny pink cub with her. It’s barely visible. In the wild, the other cub would have died. But here at Wolong twin cubs usually survive, because of a simple technique called Swap Rearing. The Mother panda cares for one cub while the sibling is nurtured in an incubator. Then every few days they’re swapped. The first step is to persuade Ye-Ye to part with her new-born. Not easy. But a diet of bamboo can be boring, So she has a weak spot With her paws full, it’s easier to snatch the cub, which is so small it hasn’t even developed the familiar black and white markings which won’t appear for another week.

Then before Ye-Ye realises what’s happened, it’s a race to the nursery. Meanwhile Ye-Ye’s other cub, has been in the nursery incubator for a couple of days, and is being prepared to be swapped. The cub is sweetly scented with Ye-Ye’s faeces and urine, so she’ll recognise the cub as her own and hopefully not reject it. And by the time Ye-Ye has begun looking for her missing cub, its sibling is brought to her. Even though it’s the younger twin and noticeably smaller than its brother, Ye Ye accepts it completely.

With the cub successfully swapped, caring for Ye-Ye’s other cub is now in the hands of the Nursery staff. The nursery is a second home for all this year’s twins, who are incapable of performing any basic bodily functions themselves, until they’re about 6 months-old. While all the other new-born cubs are being cared for by the mothers or in the nursery, Mao Mao is still waiting for hers to be born, and she’s still under close observation. Like her neighbours, this isn’t Mao Mao’s first pregnancy so it’s hoped that the birth will be straightforward. In the past things haven’t gone so smoothly.

But Mao Mao isn’t the only panda to have problems. Even the star of this year’s breeding bonanza, Princess has proved inept in the past. And while Mao Mao may not be a novice mother any more, she still needs to be monitored very carefully, to ensure nothing goes wrong. Residents of Wolong depend on vast amounts of this stuff; bamboo. Once carnivores, pandas changed their diets to survive. Less competition for food saved them from extinction. Each adult panda eats around 30 kilos of bamboo daily: they need to – bamboo isn’t very nutritious. And the Centre needs all the help it can get just to feed them, let alone breed them. Fortunately, every year, hundreds of volunteers come to Wolong from all over the world.

Desperate to get close to pandas. Because there’s something about these black-and-white bears that brings out emotion and sentimentality in even the most rational and intelligent adults. Perhaps more than any other mammal on the planet. Inside, sweetie. Even those who hail from countries with rarities like koalas simply can’t get enough of pandas. Good boy. Have you seen the pictures? Yes, 26 years. Panda paraphernalia has become big business. And while some might find it all a bit tasteless and commercial, plastic pandas have done a great deal to keep the real ones in the spotlight and generated enough interest and subsequent income to keep them alive. So much so that people will pay for the privilege of scrubbing out panda pens and baling bamboo. Feeding Wolong’s pandas a massive 2000 kg of bamboo every day. Just to be near their black and white icons. Mao Mao is pacing around her pen, and doing more and more sit-ups and seems very restless. She was inseminated around 180 days ago and near the maximum gestation period.

It’s time to take a closer look and see what’s happening. Mao Mao has been trained to lie in this special cage, to restrict her movement and allow easy scanning. Even so, she still needs reassurance to keep her calm and steady. The scan should confirm whether or not Mao Mao is expecting. As a foetus is about 900 times smaller than the mother at this stage, it’s not easy to find.

It’s a single foetus. So far this season all the other pandas have given birth to twins. On Monday morning, 5 days after the ultrasound, and pacing around her pen. There’s no noticeable change in her behaviour except that she’s off her food. It seems as if the predictions of her cub’s birth day might be wrong. There’s no sense of urgency and it’s business as usual. Then suddenly Mao Mao stops pacing. It looks as if her waters might have broken. But she’s alone and for a few minutes none of her keepers seem to notice that she’s stopped pacing. She cries out and her groaning attracts her keepers’ attention.

Seeing Mao Mao lapping at fluid, they’re unsure whether it came from her or might just be rain-water. They want to check, but pregnant pandas can be very unpredictable. She might feel threatened and become aggressive, so first they want to get her safely indoors. In the wild, female pandas retreat to a den or cave to give birth and Mao Mao’s indoor pen serves the same purpose. Closer inspection confirms Mao Mao’s waters have broken. She’s clearly very agitated and displaying classic behaviour sign of a panda close to giving birth. As news of Mao Mao’s labour winds its way across Wolong, everyone gathers in the monitoring room.

Although 10 panda cubs have already been born this season, there’s no room for complacency, and after years of struggle every panda birth is still considered special. Even the boss wants to witness the newest arrival and make sure things go well. But as with human births, no-one knows how long Mao Mao will be in labour. They could be in for a very long wait. It’s not Mao Mao’s first pregnancy – she’s given birth twice before, but that doesn’t lessen the stress and anxiety for both her and her keeper Wu Dai Fu Unlike human births, the cub will be tiny compared to its mother, and 99% of its growth will happen after it’s born. The size is always a risk, as it’s not unknown for a giant panda to accidentally crush her tiny newborn. Seven hours after Mao Mao went into labour, her cub begins to emerge… But there’s a problem. The first thing to come out is a tiny tail. It’s a breech birth. The baby is being born upside-down, and if the head is trapped in the birth canal too long, or the umbilical cord is compressed, it could mean disaster.

Finally, Mao Mao’s cub is officially born. But her keeper Wu, knows something isn’t right. The cub isn’t the usual pink- it’s limp and pale and there’s another sign that all’s not well. The breech birth means Mao Mao’s new cub might have been denied oxygen, possibly causing brain damage or worse. It’s decided to take the cub away from Mao Mao and check it out. As Mao Mao’s keeper, Wu is the only one she trusts. So he must be the one to take the cub away from her before it’s too late. Mao Mao’s new-born panda cub has started squeaking. It’s a positive sign, but no guarantee that everything’s okay, so her keeper Wu is taking no chances. He must take the cub away and have it checked thoroughly, to see if there are any problems. Repeatedly he tries desperately to take the cub away, but she’s not letting him touch it. As the minutes tick by, everyone is increasingly concerned about the cub’s chances, if Wu can’t take it from Mao Mao.

Again he tries. And fails. Aware that Mao Mao has been in labour for a long time, is exhausted and probably hungry, Wu has an idea. It works! Then it’s a dash to the nursery. By the time it gets to the nursery, the cub seems to be okay. At 193 grammes, it’s nearly 100 grammes heavier than normal cubs, and one of the biggest cubs ever born at Wolong, but it’s still only 1/900th the size of Mao Mao. The cub can’t hear yet and won’t open her eyes for at least another 6 weeks. Just as well, as she can’t be disturbed by all the attention she’s receiving. Once Mao Mao’s cub is given the all clear, it must be returned to her quickly or she’ll become very agitated. With her tiny cub safely back, Mao Mao makes it clear, for her, the show’s over. But for Wolong, it’s just another small step towards saving the species – and besides, there are still other pandas. “}

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