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Tian Tian in the snow

Although this huge winter storm has crippled the east coast of the United States recently, that sure doesn’t prevent panda Tian Tian from having some good ole’ fun.

Tian Tian (pron. Tee-YEN tee-YEN) is an adult male panda who lives at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Tian is an old Chinese term for “heaven.” It loosely translates in English to “sky.” Tian Tian lives with three other pandas at the National Zoo.

Giant pandas, like Tian Tian, are native to central China. They are on an endangered species list. Currently there are only about 1,864 Giant pandas in the wild and only about 300 in captivity. However, current efforts and successful mating in zoos and breeding centers are giving hope for a big comeback. Although breeding season can be difficult as it only comes once per year, giving conservationist team only a small window to produce a healthy baby into the world. Currently there are only about 1,864 Giant pandas in the wild and only about 300 in captivity.

Giant pandas are black and white colored, usually being the standard size of most bears, relatively close to black bears. They have strong jaw muscles to chew their favorite snack, bamboo. They can weigh up to 250 lbs. Adult pandas are generally solitary animals, but they have been known to meet and communicate in small groups. They are generally a low key, docile bear, but don’t be fooled. They are just as dangerous as any other bear.

The four pandas housed at the National Zoo have freedom to stay inside their panda house or venture outdoors if the weather permits. This video is an exception to the usual. He must have expressed great yearning to go play in the snow.

I hope these beautiful creatures will continue to provide us with their cuteness and fun loving nature for many, many years. If you are interested in helping the fight to save the giant panda race, there is an adopt a panda program through the National Zoo. You can find information on their website at https://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/GiantPandas/

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Callie Farr

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