Panda: More Thermal Images

Thermal image of Bai Yun, taken June 24, 2011. Click to view in larger format.

The San Diego Zoo’s director of reproductive physiology as been capturing thermal images of our adult female giant panda, Bai Yun, as we monitor a possible pregnancy. Here’s her latest report!

Here are the two latest thermal images from Bai Yun. In each image, two indistinct red heat structures can be seen, one on either side of her midline, toward the right side of the picture. The arrow-shaped red structure in the middle is her bladder. At this point we can only say these heat signatures are suggestive of two implantation sites.

Thermal image taken June 29, 2011.

We’ll be doing another scan this week, and we’ll continue to watch these heat signatures through the month of July, when we may see them become more distinct, which would indicate growing cubs.

Barbara Durrant is the director of reproductive physiology and Henshaw Chair at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. Read her previous post, Panda: Thermal Images Revealed.

49 Responses to Panda: More Thermal Images

  1. Thank you Dr. Durrant! Take care to get your rest and be well Mama Bai, a new cubbie or two would be delightful!

    According to some quick scaps from pandacam, it would appear that Bai has access to her den now? And is nest building? All good signs!!

    Moderator’s note: Yes, she does have access to her den.

  2. You go Bai Yun keeping my fingers crossed.

  3. Fantastic update. We will all be waiting for the next installment of the thermal images. Bai Yun, Hua Mei and now Su Lin just have to look at a boy to get pregnant don’t they :)

    • Yes, and aren’t we glad of it AI or natural, they result in months of fun and joy for all of us! Perhaps we will have 2 this time?

  4. Great news!! I am so glad that the SDZ is taking advantages from all the new technologies and keep us informed about it.
    I thought it would be a quiet day while you are recovering from the fire. Perhaps everybody that came in early to check on the pandas stay at the zoo!!

  5. hopeful for twins!!!!!!!

  6. If she gets twins, what would you do? Normally Panda mom’s only take care for one and the other will die – in China they take the 2nd cub away and then they will switch the babys regularly so every baby will get milk and body contact from the mother.

    PS: Finally we will visit San Diego and the Pandas in early January next year, looking forward to it, can’t wait!!!

    Moderator’s note: We’ve always had a twin-swapping plan in place in case Bai Yun had twins and was unable/unwilling to care for one of them.

  7. The technology is amazing! Thank you for sharing! It appears that the SDZ, with thanks to Bai and Gao, will have a new baby panda in a couple months! :)

  8. Good for you Bai Yun – you are such a great panda and a great mother – a credit to your race.

    Looking forward to welcoming your new offspring.

  9. Wasn’t Bai pregnant with twins when she had Yun Zi? But then one got re-absorbed?

    Moderator’s note: Yes.

  10. We are all rooting for you, Bai Yun! Have a safe pregnancy and looking forward to seeing another cubbie or two!!! God bless you.

  11. Woo-hoo! I just asked about this, and here’s the answer! Thanks, Dr. Durrant. This is encouraging news… :-)

  12. Moderator: One more question: Is the “Zookeeper” trailer going to go away now that the movie is out? Guess I’m just tired of hitting the “skip” button… 😉

    Moderator’s note: It won’t be there forever.

  13. The heat structures in the June 29th thermal imaging appear to be fainter and less vibrant than in the June 24th image. Is that a reason for concern?

  14. It’s great to see these images and exciting to think that like her daughters Bai might be pregnant with twins. Hope everything goes well from now on in and glad that the fire didn’t cause them any problems

  15. I certainly am not qualified to read these images, but the one on the bottom of the thermal image looks more like a cub’s body to me. BTW…I haven’t been in here for a long time and just wanted to say “Hello” to everyone….

    Moderator’s note: Welcome back, Widget!

    • Those thermal pics are looking pretty good! Hopefully, the vets can use a 3D or 4D ultrasound machine to get a really good look inside Bai’s uterus. Let us know when they are able to get that done and get those pics up online. The vets at Atlanta Zoo used a 4D ultrasound machine to get 2 great pics of Lun Lun’s baby panda before she gave birth to Po last summer. They were awesome to look at! So, maybe the vets at SDZ can use one of these ultrasound machines to get a real good picture of Bai’s uterus. That would be a great comparison study of using both the thermal and ultrasound pics to really see what is going on inside Bai. Keep us updated and send us more of those gorgeous colorful pics!
      Chari Mercier :)
      St. Pete, FL
      PS: Going back to NZ pandacam for Mei watch tonite!

    • Oh yeah, welcome back, Widget!! Where have you been all this time?? Missed your comments about pandas, and looking forward to hearing from you alot more! Hope you are doing well with your health, and keep watching pandas!
      Chari Mercier :)
      St. Pete, FL

    • Thank you so much Moderator! I’ve missed you! You are a very nice person and love all the help you give us when you can….

  16. WOW — I’m kinda speechless…. how incredible would twins be?

  17. The waiting game starts . . . . . .

  18. Hi all! Gosh all of this wonderful news is SO exciting. Little cubbies are sprouting everywhere :) Somehow I just know that Momma Bai Yun will be joining in soon to bring more love and magic into this world with another one her precious cubbies. Or will it be 2 this time?

    I noticed that someone mentioned Mei Sheng on a previous post so I was searching for some recent news about him when I found this collection of pics taken by Fu Long’s keeper, Evelyn Dungl. The date is November 2010 and it has Mei Sheng, Su Lin, Zhen Zhen and Tai Shan.


    • I am so sorry to not see any sign of Gao Gao’s fluffy feetsies on Mei sheng, I am hoping that one of his boys will follow suit with the Fluffies—but if not I will hope for the grandsons born in cooler conditions. I just lobe Gao Gao’s Fluufy Feetsies.
      For the Moderator, NannyKeepers–or whomever knows….for thermal imaging does Bai Yun have to be restrained gently as she is for ultra sound, or does she just get to pose????? Thank You………. Love Grammmie

      Moderator’s note: She is trained to lay down in a specific area, just like she does for her ultrasound procedures; however, she can get up and walk away if she wants to.

      • That reminds me of the one other Keeper/Staff question I had….When will one of Bai Yun’s Grandchildren, male or female, be old enough to make her a Great Grandmother??? We know she is a Great Mother and all, but can hardly wait to hear she lives to be a GreatGrandmother like her mom Dong Dong did. Did Bai’s father Pan Pan live long enought to have Greatgrandkids by Hua Mei concieved AI by Shi Shi and Bai Yun??? Thank you all for your time…….Love Grammmie
        Those of you keeping track of the Family Tree please feel free to answer these too……L G

        Moderator’s note: Hua Mei’s first twins were born in 2004, making them old enough to become parents.

        • Hua Mei will not become a grandmother and Bai Yun will not be a great-grandmother this year, Yuan Yuan is not pregnant. Yuan Yuan is Tuan Tuan’s female partner; they have been in Taipei since December 23, 2008. Tuan Tuan is one of the first twins that Hua Mei had in Wolong in 2004; Yuan Yuan was also born in Wolong two days before Tuan Tuan and his twin brother Mei Ling.

          • Thank You, both Moderator and Danielle, NYC.
            Lovely Bai Yun has another reason to pose. Love Grammmie

  19. Thank you, Dr. Durrant for keeping us up-to-date concerning our sweet Bai Yun. This is wonderful news. I had a good feeling while I was looking at the thermal images. I could see a faint outline of two small pandas! I can dream, can’t I? :-)

    I’m anxiously looking forward to your report on the next thermal scan. It would be wonderful if the scan confirms that Bai Yun is pregnant. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

    • May all of your dreams—as well as the rest of us, come true…Love Grammmie

  20. I need to design a flow chart just to keep up with all the activity going on- on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and on to China. Yun- I could use more than a few of your ice cubes- there is nothing worse than summer in CT this week- sitting here drinking semi-frozen gingerale, thinking of you in your pool.

  21. Yun Zi’s Thanksgiving List

    I give thanks for:

    1) My Mama and Papa – da bestest

    2) My Jie Jies and my Ge Ge, my nieces and nephews – Can’t wait to hear what Su will name her son, maybe she wll call it Xiao Yun or Little Cloud after me, hee hee.

    3) My nannykeepers and doctors, also the nice hoomans who cut my boo and make my treats and my enrichment toys = LOVE

    4) My uncles and aunties who come and visit me at the zoo, and take lovely photos and videos of me and my family – I wike to look at the albums online. Papa is going to get me an iPaw2 for my birthday I think.

    5) My uncles and aunties who watch the Panda Cam and write to me or my Mama or Papa….I try to smile always

    6) All the pandas around the world who are safe cos of the good hoomans who help – nice to know I have a growing gang like AJ, Po, Fu Hu, Ping, De and Po…

    7) All my animal friends in the SDZ – I love playing with all those who are my age.

    8) My lovely hammock, hee hee

    9) My approaching birthday party – iced cake YAY!

    10) My new siblings (Please pway with me that Mama will have twins!)

    My Birthday Wish List

    1) An ice treat truck for all the animals in the zoo. I know the younger ones would love having some lollies.

    2) Foam Party

    3) Lots of Snackies

    4) A chance to play with some hooman cubbies who are less fortunate

    5) A tall climbing structure that I can bungee jump from, YES

    6) Miss Panda Universe 2008’s phone number, hee hee.

    7) A chance to share with hoomans about pandas

    8) A big swimming pool

    9) A chance to speak with all my jie jies, ge ge and nieces and nephews, uncles amd aunties and cousins. Maybe a tele conference, hee hee.

    10) A pair of siblings – Mama, do you hear my prayer?

    • May all You are Thankful for, Dream of, Wish for, want for your Birthday, and your fellow animals, “Hoomans”, and the Earth—Come True…Love Auntie Grammmie

      • Thank you, dearest Auntie Grammmie. You are the bestest!

  22. I see that at the bottom of the page we can access archived blogs from 2003 thru 2008. How can we access the blogs AND their comments from the time Yun Zi was born. During my first year with Yun Zi, before I was ill for a time and the blog page changed, I found it quite easy to keep going backwards to access older blogs and comments. I got to read so many great stories written by my fellow folks, and P. Wongs interviews of mostly Gao Gao….but did not make copiies of all of them. (I sure wish I had made copies now…but did not know there would be changes coming—and I was kind of tired.) Some of the blogs themselves are accessable, but not the comment section where we also learn some great facts too, and the wonderful stories, and points of view from our Pandas are expressed. I could u se any help available…Thank You Love Grammmie

    Moderator’s note: You’re right: there is no direct access to posts written in 2009; you just have to select the panda category and scroll down until you get to the posts you’re interested in. They are all there, and the comments are below, even though it says “No Comments.” Happy reading!

    • TY, TY, TY….Love Grammmie

  23. Dear Qannik,

    Greetings! How are you adapting to the zoo in Louisville? I hear your nannykeepers are having lots of fun with you from the blog. I saw your photos so I thought I would write and welcome you to living in a zoo.

    A zoo is a great place for animals like us as the hoomans try to help our species increase in number. I hear polar bears are also fast disappearing. So sad isn’t it?

    My Mama told me how you got lost in an oil field in Alaska and how the hoomans found you. I am glad that you bounced back. YAY for you!

    I am Yun Zi, a Giant Panda male cub, almost two years old. And I am black and white in colour. I guess we are distantly related as we are all bears. I thought I would write to you as you are on your own and I wanted to extend a paw of friendship. And did I tell you I think you are cute too! Hee Hee.

    If you need a pawpal, I am happy to be yours. I see from the zoo blog that you like swimming and playing with your toys. Do you like climbing? I do.

    I like ice cos it is very hot where I live in San Diego. Last week, I got a tub of ice cubes. Fun. I placed them on my head and let the ice melt away. You must love the cold very much.

    Maybe we can have a play date one day. Would you like to come to my birthday party in August?

    Peace and Love,
    Yun Zi

  24. Hey, do any of the pandafans that are watching Mei Xiang on the NZ pandacams know if Mei has left her den at anytime during the past week to eat and/or get a drink of water? I’m wondering about that because I have been doing Mei watch the last few days and nites, and I have NOT seen her leave that fully nested den at all! She’s got to have something to eat and drink because that’s the only way she will have enough milk available for her baby panda if and when she does deliver one. Let us all know, ok? Back to Mei watch!!
    Chari Mercier :)
    St. Pete, FL
    BTW, Mei is STILL in that den and has not moved out of there at all today and tonite!

    • I’ve seen her eat some. I also saw where there was a metal tray at the entrance to her den that I think had water in it. I think she drank some, and then I saw her pick it up and bring it in her den. I’m not a 100% positive that she drank some though. It is amazing to watch. She has barely moved out of that corner since the weekend. There has to be a baby on the way right? :)

    • There 7:00 am, on her side looking passed out-like you felt the need to pat her on the head and tell her that everything will be okay.

    • I did see her leave the den for a short time this afternoon – I had to go out so am not sure how long she was out :) :) But the she is back in the den looking and uncomfortable and driving us all crazy :) :) Have gone this before – help we need a cub ) :)

      And then we have our Bai who just seems to deliver a cub with no effort :)

  25. My family were there and called me about the fire. No presents for me this time!! Wow! What a loss that must be. I’m glad I got my Aurora, Polar bear, when I was there last year!!
    I will be there after construction is over, so by that time I may have another present for myself, if they construct it fast!

  26. Moderator I have a question: How long does a Momma Panda sit on her nest without eating very much. I’ve been watch AZ and it seems Mei Xiang has been sitting on her nest with not much to eat for weeks now. Is that normal. How long did Bai Yun nest before her precious ones were born.

    Can’t wait to see more thermal images. Does SDZ have a 3D ultrasound machine, that would be very cool.

    Moderator’s note: I can’t speak for pandas at other facilities, but you can read about Bai Yun’s behavior leading up to Yun Zi’s birth in the posts Denning Up and Pandas: Getting Closer. We do not own a 3D ultrasound machine.

    • very interesting read, thanks very much

    • Mei Xiang is at the National Zoo. Her behavior is very hard to predict and is keeping all of her followers on pins and needles.

  27. NZ Cam is black anyone know what is going on?

    • No, but hoping that we are having a baby!

    • Susan, saw that as well. Checked the NZ panda page again about 30 minutes ago, and both NZ cams are back online. Mei Xiang is STILL in her den! Keep on watching!
      Chari Mercier :)
      St. Pete, FL

      • Read the NZ update – they also have no ideas what’s going on :) :) Mei Xiang was out of den about 10 min. this afternoon but is now back licking and cradling her Kong toys.. She has so much hay & bamboo I’m afraid she lose the cub :) :) Going to be long nite :)

  28. I’m sure everyone knows now that Su Lin couldn’t care for her cub properly and they switched cubs in order to save the new one. I don’t know if they’ve been doing this for a long time or not. Seems Su Lin might not have been quite ready to be a mom or perhaps it was something else. It happens of course but it appears all is well now. So swapping isn’t unusual with two cubs in same family and now they’re doing it with situations like Su Lin’s. Interesting that they can take a cub from another mother entirely and give it to another and it is accepted. At least that is what the news said.

  29. Thank you, Dr. Durrant, for keeping us informed about Bai Yun’s current condition. I am so excited to learn that there might be twins. I am keeping my fingers crossed for Bai and her family and of course for everyone at SDZ.