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A Tale of Two Ling Lings

Each of the last two posts here documented an attack on a human by a giant panda named Ling Ling. But although both pandas were named Ling Ling, it is important to note that they are actually two separate pandas.

The Ling Ling involved in the 1984 incident is a female giant panda. She and her male partner Hsing Hsing were captured in China in 1971. In 1972, following Nixon’s visit to China, Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing were given to the US. Although they had five cubs, none survived for long after birth. Ling Ling died in 1992. Hsing Hsing died in 1999.

The Ling Ling involved in the 1995 incident is a male giant panda. He appears to be the same Ling Ling who was part of a pair of pandas who were exhibited in the US in 1987/88. That Ling Ling was born in the Beijing Zoo in September 1985. China exchanged Ling Ling for another panda from the Ueno Zoo in Japan. Ling Ling died in 2008 at the Ueno Zoo.



Tai Shan going to China, parents hoping for new cub

Four year-old panda Tai Shan will be leaving the National Zoo in Washington, DC, USA to go to China sometime after the end of January 2010. You may recall Tai Shan, whose name means “peaceful mountain”, from his March 2008 attack on his keeper. All of the giant pandas in the US, including those born in captivity like Tai Shan, belong to China. According to UPI, the zoo is planning to send Tai Shan off with a party on 30 January.

Meanwhile, Tai Shan’s mother Mei Xian has been artificially inseminated. Tai Shan was the product of a successful artificial insemination and was born at the National Zoo.

Old news in panda attacks by Gu Gu

For some unknown reason, AP republished the story of an October 2007 attack on a teen by Gu Gu, a male panda at the Beijing Zoo. The article is entitled “Panda attacks teeen in zoo enclosure” and is dated 31 March 2009. This isn’t a new attack. Presumably human error or a technical glitch are responsible for this republishing.

A few Australian papers seem to have picked this up (like The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age) and it has made its way onto a few blogs. No other newspapers seem to have reported it, so it may have been an isolated Australian problem.

Poor Gu Gu. Even when he hasn’t attacked anyone for months, he can’t keep the media from ruining his good name…

When Pandas Attack – about this blog

Pandas may seem like giant stuffed toys, but beneath that cute and cuddly exterior lies a wild animal. Like most animals, pandas will attack if threatened or provoked.

If you ask someone to think of a panda, most people will form an image in their mind of a large, furry, rotund animal with black and white fur, and black patches around the eyes. This is the Giant Panda. They are part of the family Ursidae, or Bears. Like all members of this family, the Giant Panda is part of the order Carnivore, which comes from the Latin for “flesh devourers”. Despite the fact that the Giant Panda’s diet consists largely of bamboo shoots, they are quite capable of killing and eating other animals.

Pandas in captivity will sometimes attack their keepers or zoo patrons who are foolish enough to enter their enclosures. This blog serves to document those attacks that are reported.



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