published: 2019-06-11 16:00:02
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Before returning home to China, the beloved Bai Yun successfully raised six cubs at the San Diego Zoo. Get your bearings on who’s who 🐼🐼🐼🐼🐼🐼
In 1999, after years of scientific work, the Zoo welcomed Hua Mei, a tiny bear whose birth was a huge achievement. Her name means “China USA,” to honor the collaboration between two countries to help save pandas. Hua Mei was the first successful panda cub born in the US and when she made her public debut, pandamonium ensued. In 2004, Hua Mei returned to China. To date, she has given birth to 11 cubs—including 3 sets of twins!
Mei Sheng bounced onto the scene in 2003. His name means “born in the USA,” and he was the first cub sired by Gao Gao. Mei Sheng was more attached to his mom, but he also had a goofy side. He had a habit of hanging upside down from tree limbs and swinging, and guests loved to watch his antics.
Su Lin was a laid-back panda cub. She was born in 2005. Her name means “a little bit of something very cute,” and she certainly lived up to it. Su Lin was the first cub trained to be part of the giant panda hearing study.
The “precious” Zhen Zhen arrived in 2007. She was beary independent and had nonstop energy. Panda fans voted for her name! Zhen Zhen was notorious for bouncing on tree branches until they broke. She was also the star of a PBS documentary about giant pandas. Zhen Zhen returned to China in 2010 with her sister Su Lin.
Yun Zi was born in 2009, and was Bai’s biggest cub. His name means “son of cloud” but keepers nicknamed him “monster,” because he had a tough attitude as a young cub.
Our sixth cub, Xiao Liwu, took the San Diego Zoo—and the world—by storm. His name means “little gift,” but we affectionately call him Mr. Wu.
We’re proud and beary grateful for the conservation contribution these cubs have made toward saving giant pandas from extinction.
Watch the original San Diego Video here