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Panda Accused of Faking Pregnancy To Get Better Food, Air Conditioning

Expectant pandas are moved to air-conditioned rooms and showered with more buns, fruit and bamboo.

Headshot of Dominique MosbergenBy Dominique Mosbergen – News Editor, The Huffington Post – Posted: 07/30/2015 12:57 AM EDT | Edited: 07/31/2015 02:07 PM EDT

Pandas Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, names together mean "reunion", eat bamboo at a panda base in Ya’an, southwest China’s Sichuan province, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008. A few weeks after this photo was taken, the duo were moved to Taiwan. (Associated Press)

Keepers at the Taipei Zoo were excited. Resident giant panda Yuan Yuan was exhibiting signs of pregnancy — an all-too-elusive event among captive pandas.

There were tell-tale symptoms, like a loss of appetite and a thickening of the uterus. Yuan Yuan’s fecal progesterone concentration was also on the rise.

Yet despite these promising signs, the panda’s pregnancy was a false alarm.

According to China’s Southern Metropolis Daily, ultrasound scans determined that Yuan Yuan, who was artificially inseminated earlier this year, was not pregnant. Now the panda is being accused of faking the pregnancy as a way of getting her caretakers to shower her with better food and care.

Pregnant pandas are typically treated like queens. As China Daily notes, the expectant bears are moved into “single rooms with air conditioning” and given “round-the-clock care.” They receive more buns, fruit and bamboo as well.

Panda experts have speculated that Yuan Yuan, who gave birth to a cub in 2013, may have been feigning pregnancy to reap these added benefits.

Taiwan’s panda cub Yuan Zai, right, and her mother Yuan Yuan enjoy Yuan Zai’s first birthday cake at the Taipei Zoo in Taipei, Taiwan, Sunday, July 6, 2014. (Associated Press)

Last year, another female panda named Ai Hin was accused of trying to pull the same trick. The panda, who lives at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, exhibited pregnancy symptoms for two months before experts determined that she didn’t actually have a cub in the oven.

“After showing prenatal signs, the [panda] ‘mothers-to-be’ are [pampered],” Wu Kongju, an expert at the Chengdu Research Base, told CNN last year. “So some clever pandas have used this to their advantage to improve their quality of life.”

Other panda experts disagree with these accusations.

Zhang Heming, director of the China Research and Conservation Center for the Giant Panda, told the Guardian last year that pseudo-pregnancies are actually fairly common in the panda world. He attributed the pandas’ behavior to "more of a hormonal issue than a deliberate ruse."

"This phenomenon occurs in 10 to 20 percent of pandas," he said. "After the mother panda is inseminated, if her health isn’t so good, the pregnancy will terminate, but she’ll still behave as if she’s pregnant."

According to a 2010 LiveScience report, scientists "don’t know why pseudo-pregnancies happen, or if they have evolved for an evolutionary purpose."

"In a sense there’s no answer, but there is speculation that perhaps pandas’ bodies just rehearse pregnancy all the time," Lisa Stevens, curator of primates and pandas at Smithsonian’s National Zoo, told the news outlet.

Also on HuffPost:

Alamy AK58HY Giant Panda Cub  Kin Cheung/AP One of the one month old Panda triples receives a body check at the Chimelong Safari Park in Guangzhou in south China’s Guangdong province Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. China announced the birth of extremely rare panda triplets in a further success for the country’s artificial breeding program. The three cubs were born July 29 in the southern city of Guangzhou. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung) Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Panda cub Bao Bao hangs from a tree in her habitat at the National Zoo in Washington, Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014. Today marks her first birthday and the zoo is marking the event with a traditional ‘Zhuazhou’ ceremony, a Chinese birthday tradition symbolizing long life to mark the event. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) Getty Images

YA’AN, CHINA – JUNE 29: A giant panda climbs onto a platform at the panda research base on June 29, 2015 in Ya’an, China. China’s Sichuan province is home to the majority of the the world’s nearly 1,900 endangered giant pandas. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

leungchopan panda eating bamboo

  Alamy AJC9T9  -  ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

A woman poses for photographers with the part of the 1,600 paper pandas, created by French artist Paulo Grangeon, in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building during the month-long "1600 Pandas World Tour" in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin) ABA PREFECTURE, CHINA – JULY 05: (CHINA OUT) Aerial view of people, wearing panda costumes with mahjong tiles, playing mahjong during a mahjong competition at a theme park in Jiuzhai Village on July 5, 2015 in Aba Perfecture, Sichuan Province of China. Over one hundred people wearing panda costumes with mahjong tiles played on a one hundred-square-meter mahjong table during a mahjong competition. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)  

Getty Images

CHENGDU, CHINA – JUNE 30: Giants pandas pause from eating bamboo in an enclosure at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding on June 30, 2015 in Chengdu, China. Twin female cubs were born by artificial insemination to seven-year-old Kelin at the center on June 22. China’s Sichuan province is home to the majority of the the world’s nearly 1,900 endangered giant pandas. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

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August 1, 2015 Posted by | animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pets, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, Unusual Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

THE ELEPHANT’S JOURNEY TO PAY RESPECT, BUT HOW DID THEY KNOW ?????????

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Lawrence Anthony, a legend in South Africa and author of 3 books including the bestseller The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild, bravely rescued wildlife and rehabilitated elephants all over the globe from human atrocities, including the courageous rescue of Baghdad Zoo animals during US invasion in 2003. (Lawrence also wrote The Last Rhinos: My Battle to Save One of the World’s Greatest Creatures and The Elephant Whisperer: Learning about Life, Loyalty and Freedom from a Remarkable Herd of Elephants.

. On March 7, 2012 Lawrence Anthony died.

.He is remembered and missed by his wife, 2 sons, 2 grandsons & numerous elephants.

Two days after his passing, the wild elephants showed up at his home led by two large matriarchs.

Separate wild herds arrived in droves to say goodbye to their beloved man-friend’.

A total of 31 elephants had patiently walked over 12 miles to get to his South African House.

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Witnessing this spectacle, humans were obviously in awe not only because of the supreme intelligence and precise timing that these elephants sensed about Lawrence ‘s passing, but also because of the profound memory and emotion the beloved animals evoked in such an organized way:

Walking slowly -for days –

Making their way in a solemn one-by-one queue from their habitat to his house. Lawrence’s wife, Francoise, was especially touched, knowing that the elephants had not been to his house prior to that day for well over 3 years!

But yet they knew where they were going.

The elephants obviously wanted to pay their deep respects, honoring their friend who’d saved their lives – so much respect that they stayed for 2 days 2 nights without eating anything. Then one morning, they left, making their long journey back home…

SOMETHING IN THE UNIVERSE THAT IS GREATER AND DEEPER THAN HUMAN INTELLIGENCE

h/t to Sue Hooper

October 10, 2012 Posted by | animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Unusual Stories, We Are All God's Creatures, Wild Animals | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Shirley and Jenny – A true story of two elephants

(Best Viewed Maximized – Sound ON for the Videos) An UNreal Creations eProd by Gary the dRAt

I have argued on many occasion the fact that animals can and do think and of course have feelings.

There is more to life than just eating, sleeping, and existing.  There is an intelligence that needs to be appreciated, not be abused.

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Video: Nature (PBS) – Shirley the Elephant (Part 2)

SHIRLEY and JENNY

The true story of a never forgotten loving relationship between two elephants

that after having been separated for 22 years were at last…, finally reunited.

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In 2000, The Urban Elephant brought viewers the touching story of Shirley and Jenny, two crippled elephants reunited at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee after a 22-year separation. The bonding was immediate, intense and unforgettable between the two former circus elephants. But long after the cameras were turned off, the wondrous moments would continue.

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The two were inseparable. Shirley quickly assumed the role of surrogate mother to Jenny, who, though now an adult, had been a baby when they first met at the circus. Their bond was so intense, it would forever change life at the sanctuary. As Carol Buckley, Executive Director of the Sanctuary describes it, ‘that was the love that started our elephant family.’ "After Shirley’s arrival, elephants who had previously been companions and friends were now sisters and aunts in the mother and daughter relationship of Shirley and Jenny. They gave the sanctuary its future," says Carol. These strong bonds would soon be needed. Sadly, on October 17, 2006, ten years after arriving at the sanctuary, Jenny died.

Jenny came to the sanctuary quite ill. She had scars and other traces of misuse and abuse from her past as a circus elephant. She had been exposed to tuberculosis. And due to an attack by a bull elephant before coming to the sanctuary, Jenny had a crippled back leg. Her caregivers suspect the leg harbored a hidden bacterial infection that flared up last year.

Carol says the bond between Shirley and Jenny was never more touching than in the last days of Jenny’s life. "The day before she died, Jenny had been down and she wouldn’t get up. Shirley stood by her and insisted that Jenny get up. Jenny just couldn’t get up. Then Jenny stood up but she had to lean on Shirley to keep up. If you looked at Shirley’s face, you could see that she knew that Jenny was dying. Jenny dropped to the ground and Shirley walked into the woods."

Jenny was on her deathbed when Shirley walked to the woods but she would give Carol and the sanctuary caregivers the privilege of one last incredible glimpse into the world of elephants before she died. "After Shirley left, Jenny started to make this rumbling noise. With each exhalation, she would rumble. It was almost like a singing. As Jenny did this, Bunny and Tara (two sanctuary elephants) came running over. We thought that was it and she was going to die. And then Bunny and Tara started trumpeting and rumbling. At a certain point, I turned to Scott (Director of The Elephant Sanctuary) and I asked him how long this was going on. He said 58 minutes! Well, she continued for another two hours. Jenny lived through the night and was even perky and silly. She passed in the morning. And when she died, she did a vocalization that I had never heard. It was like a trumpet. It was very low and got quieter and quieter. She passed very peacefully without straining or exerting herself. To experience this ritual was amazing. I had never seen anything like it."

Shirley stayed in the woods until Jenny passed. She didn’t eat for two days. "It was very hard and especially hard on Shirley. Shirley’s whole life was about taking care of baby Jenny. It was like a mom losing her baby."

Fortunately, Shirley has had some extended family members to lean on during the sad times. Shirley is very close with an elephant named Bunny — the two are like sisters. Bunny arrived to the sanctuary just two months after Shirley and they bonded instantly.

Carol says Jenny’s death was difficult for the elephants but they are recovering. The healing process may have been sped up by a new elephant, Misty, who has come in from a different area of the sanctuary. "She’s a very happy creature. She loves all elephants. She just runs around. And they love her. She’s a ball of happy energy."

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At Last Sanctuary

To View Videos of Shirley’s Life

Please Click on the Boxes Below:

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VIDEO clip_image006 NO. 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzEUayHqrRc

VIDEO clip_image006[1] NO. 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXKxgLvIS6Y&feature=related

VIDEO clip_image006[2] NO. 3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXySXSM904E&feature=related

SOME COMMENTS

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I’ve often wondered about Shirley’s longtime keeper, Solomon James, who traveled with her when she was brought HOME to the sanctuary. Has he ever been back to see her? Yes, I know visitors are not allowed, but it seems he might have a pass. He cared for her 22 years, so certainly she’d know him and be very excited to see him, much like her reunion with Jenny. It would be nice for both if they were allowed to see and touch each other up close again.

· @onekinkstar Solomon has been invited on several occasions but has not returned to visit Shirley–it has been his choice not to do so. After saying goodbye to Shirley, Solomon stayed on at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo and continued to care for other animals until his retirement in 2007.

elephantsanctuarytn 7 months ago 4 clip_image008

· @elephantsanctuarytn Thank you so much for letting me know, and thank you . . . For The Elephants.

onekinkstar 7 months ago

· @onekinkstar You’re very welcome. We appreciate your support! For the thousands of Shirley’s fans (including Solomon) she is always just an internet connection away—and these days she can often be spotted live on the Elecam, too.

elephantsanctuarytn 7 months ago 2 clip_image008[1]

· I love Shirley and Jenny. I saw them recently on these video clips. they two are different from the rest. I don’t know about Shirley’s well being, I saw Jenny passed away in 2006. after more than 20 years, I don’t know for how long did she get to spent some good time with Jenny.

krissh14 1 year ago

@krissh14 "Grandma" Shirley is still with us and is doing wonderful. Look for more recent videos of her on our YouTube Channel, including "Summertime at the Sanctuary" and "Shirley and Tarra Playing."

elephantsanctuarytn 1 year ago

Thank Goodness For Animal Sanctuaries

clip_image009By Gary the dRAt

November 5, 2011 Posted by | animal abuse, animal behavior, animals, free range rescue, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Stop Animal Cruelty, Unusual Stories, We Are All God's Creatures, Wild Animals | , , , , , , | 1 Comment