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China Departure Postponed for Giant Pandas Xi Lan and Po
Friday, November 15, 2013

After reviewing the results of pre-shipment physical examinations on giant pandas Xi Lan, 5, and Po, 3, the Zoo Atlanta Animal Management and Veterinary Teams, in consultation with colleagues at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, have made the decision to postpone the pandas’ departure for China, previously scheduled for November 24, 2013.

Both giant pandas are healthy, but the journey to China will involve a lengthy trip and a period of transition in their new home. Once in China, the bears will acclimate themselves to a new habitat and will adapt to a new diet, including the variety of unfamiliar bamboo species native to China. A temporary delay in Xi Lan’s and Po’s departure would allow the giant pandas to develop sufficient reserves to make this transition.

“We’re excited about the opportunities Xi Lan and Po will have once they arrive in Chengdu, but we want to ensure that both are in optimal condition for travel and transition,” said Raymond B. King, President and CEO. “Their welfare is paramount to us and our colleagues in China who are in agreement that a stay of a few more months is the right choice for the animals.”

Pre-shipment physicals are an important part of the process for animals traveling from Zoo Atlanta to new homes. Routinely performed by the Veterinary Team on individuals scheduled to move to other facilities, these are comprehensive examinations that analyze an animal’s total bill of health while ensuring that those preparing to travel will be able to adapt successfully to new circumstances and diets.

The farewell celebration planned for Saturday, November 16 will continue as scheduled. Activities will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Panda Veranda.

Xi Lan and Po are the second and third offspring of giant panda pair Lun Lun and Yang Yang. Lun Lun’s youngest offspring, 4-month-old twins Mei Lun and Mei Huan, recently began 

living with their mother full-time and will soon be making their public debut in the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Giant Panda Conservation Center.

Stay tuned for updates on Xi Lan’s and Po’s revised departure date; updates will be posted on zooatlanta.org as they are available. Stay up-to-date on Mei Lun and Mei Huan on PandaCam presented by EarthCam on zooatlanta.org and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+. Subscribe to exclusive email content via Cub Confidential; subscribe on the PandaCam page.