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Pandas in California get a winter wonderland

Hilary Hagerman, staff writer
December 13, 2011 — A two-year-old panda cub at the San Diego Zoo got his first taste of snow last week.

Yun Zi plays in the snow
Yun Zi plays in the snow

Snow is a rare occurrence in many parts of California, but last Thursday, zoo officials created a winter wonderland for two of their pandas, Bai Yun and her two-year-old cub Yun Zi.

Staff constructed a makeshift Christmas tree from two types of bamboo and covered the ground with fluffy man-made snow.

This was the first time that Yun Zi had ever seen snow. He slowly tested the snow to see if he could walk on it, but quickly adjusted and started running and playing. Eventually, he climbed up onto an icy tree stump and took a nap.

His mother seemed unphased by the snow around her. She sat in the middle of the panda habitat munching on bamboo.

The snowy scene came just a couple of days before the zoo started its Third Annual Jungle Bells celebration, where visitors can put a wild-animal twist on familiar holiday activities. Jungle Bells runs through New Year’s Day.

If you’re not planning to take a trip to the Golden State anytime soon, you can still see the pandas live. The San Diego zoo just upgraded its Panda Cam, where online viewers can watch the bears in high-definition.

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