The world's oldest male panda, Pan Pan, has died in China.
Pan Pan, 31, was diagnosed with cancer six months ago, having lived almost all his life in captivity. He was captured in Sichuan as a six-month old cub. The BBC reports that his name means "Hope."
The centre described the news of the death of the "hero-father" panda as "heart-wrenching".
Keepers said he had stopped moving and eating, and lost consciousness, as his health had deteriorated rapidly over the preceding three days.
In September, the International Union for Conservation of Nature announced that the status pandas had been changed from "endangered" to "vulnerable", as numbers had begun to increase.
The latest Chinese estimates show a population of 1,864 adults, as well as - according to China's State Forestry Administration - 422 in captivity.
Pan Pan is survived by 130 descendants — reportedly a quarter of the world's captive-bred pandas — with family in California, Washington D.C., Edinburgh, Brussels, Ya'an, Chengdu, Chiang Mai and Taipei. Read the rest
These are the first publicly available photographs of newborn giant panda triplets born to giant panda Juxiao inside an incubator at the Chimelong Safari Park in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China. Read the rest
Imagine giving birth to a baby and not being able to tell for weeks whether it's a boy or a girl. That's pretty much how life rolls for pandas — a species that, we've pointed out here before, are already saddled with incredibly complicated sex lives.
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A full day after the birth of her cub, panda Mei Xiang gave birth to a second, stillborn, cub. The first cub is still doing great
. But the second one had developmental abnormalities and wasn't ever really going to live. Read the rest
Mei Xiang, the female panda who lives at the Smithsonian National Zoo, gave birth today. Above is a screen shot from the Zoo's Panda Cam, showing the baby shortly after birth.
Why should you care about this not-quite-yet-but-soon-to-be adorable baby animal more than you care about any other adorable baby animal? Because the scientific oddities of panda reproduction make its story very interesting. Read the rest
Ken Bohn / San Diego Zoo
The Los Angeles Times has a cute photo slideshow up with fresh shots of Xiao Liwu, the 5 1/2-month-old male panda at the San Diego Zoo, who has been receiving some health check-ups recently. The little guy was born at the zoo, and has been "on display" since last week for a few hours each day. If only... if only I could figure out who that shot above reminds me of.
Oh yeah, here it is.
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Scientists are studying panda poop to learn how to make better biofuels.
I'm not sure even Chris Ware could have done it any better.
In context, this illustration comes from a recently published paleobiology paper examining a cache of animal bones and pottery found in a sinkhole near China's Jiangdong Mountain.
One of the key things the researchers are taking away from this site: The range of the Giant Panda must have once been a lot larger than it is today.
Here's a link to the paper (which is behind a pay wall)
Via Ed Yong Read the rest
[Video Link] A baby panda cub was born last night at the National Zoo! More at the Zoo website. (via i09). Read the rest