Snow Day for Pandas
The recent snowfall that has covered large areas of the northeast has spurred playful snowball fights and sledding excursions, but humans are not the only ones enjoying the wintry weather. In a heartwarming video released by the National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, giant pandas, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, were spotted playfully enjoying the fresh powder.
The giant pandas are native to cold environments and remain active in their habitat at the Zoo during the winter months. After approximately three inches of snow covered the ground, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian went out to have some fun of their own. The adorable footage was captured on the Zoo’s live stream “panda cam.” One of the pandas is seen sliding down the slippery slopes on its back, while the other playfully rolled around in the snow with a ball.
For giant panda cub, Xiao Qi Ji, the weather provided an introduction to something he had never seen before – snow. Keepers at the National Zoo said that the 5-month-old cub seemed slightly nervous at first, but he soon warmed up to the falling snowflakes. The cub’s first encounter with snow was a great success as Xiao Qi Ji took a nibble of a cub-size snowman made by a zookeeper.
While the National Zoo is temporarily closed due to COVID-19, those who are interested in seeing what the animals are up to can check out the Zoo’s four live stream webcams, which offer footage of the giant pandas, naked mole rats, lions, and elephants. The Zoo also offers an educational activity packet for kids who want to learn more about the animals seen on the webcams.
According to the Zoo’s website, giant pandas are native to central China and are considered a vulnerable species, with only 1,864 living in their native habitat. For over 40 years, the National Zoo has made great strides in saving giant pandas from extinction and has maintained one of the world’s leading panda conservation programs.