On January 17，2014, the winners of the annual Giant Panda Zoo Awards were revealed at Zoo Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. The Giant Panda Zoo Awards are organized by www.GiantPanda- Zoo.com, a website about captive giant pandas around the world, to promote giant panda conservation work both in and outside of China.
From December 13, 2013, until January 14，2014, panda fans from around the world were invited to vote for their favorite pandas, people, institutions, organizations, and zoos. 239,456 votes were registered during the month-long online vote across 10 categories. The greatest number of voters came from China, the United States, Thailand, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Austria, Australia, Canada, France, Spain, Germany, Japan, Singapore, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Russia, Switzerland, and Hungary.
“The second edition of the Giant Panda Zoo Awards was again a huge success,” said Jeroen Jacobs, the man behind www.GiantPandaZoo.com. “Most zoos with giant pandas in their collections were very proud and enthusiastic to participate in the awards and to promote their nominees. The large amount of registered votes, 10 times more than last year, shows the worldwide interest in the subject and that is very nice, since the Giant Panda Zoo Awards are the time of the year for the general public to speak up and to support diose who have worked very hard in the panda conservation field. The work of the Chinese panda experts on ex-situ and in-situ panda conservation is a sign that there is hope for this endangered species and for many others. The giant panda is a real ambassador for wildlife, and many other species benefit from the efforts that are made in the panda conservation field. The international collaboration between Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens (CAZG), China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA) and their foreign partners has resulted in many scientific breakthroughs over the past years.”
A large crowd of American panda fans attended the opening ceremony at Zoo Atlanta. The event was opened by Zoo Atlanta’s CEO Raymond B. King and Director Dwight Lawson. The pandas at Zoo Atlanta joined in the fun with some special “Giant Panda Zoo” enrichment.
Mei Lun and Mei Huan from Zoo Atlanta in the United States took first place for “Panda Cub of the Year”. Lun Lun and Yang Yang’s fourth and fifth offspring are the new stars of Zoo Atlanta, and are the first twin panda cubs in the United States to survive. Second place went to Yuan Zai, the first panda to be brn in Taiwan. Third place was awarded to Fu Bao, the third surviving son of Austria’s pandas Yang Yang and Iong Hui.
The first place for “Favorite Panda in China” went to Hao Hao. The female panda was born in 2009 at Ya’an Bifengxia Base of CCRCGP. She has also lived at Xiangjiang Safari Parc in Guangzhou and Langzhong Panda Paradise. Soon after winning first place, she moved to Pairi Daiza in Belgium with her partner, Xing Hui. Second place was awarded to Ba Si, the star panda at Fuzhou Panda World. Third place went to Yong Yong, a young adult male panda who has proven that captive pandas can be good breeders.
Thailand’s panda fans voted Lin Bing to the top spot in the “Favorite Repatriated Panda” category. Lin Bing had lived at Chiang Mai Zoo for 4 years before being returned to Ya’an Bifengxia Panda Base in October 2013. Taking home second place were Po and De De. The twin brothers returned from Zoo Madrid in Spain in May 2013 to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and are now followed by their fans on CNTV’s iPanda (ipanda.cntv.cn). Third place went to American-born Mei Lan, who moved to Chengdu in February 2010.
Scotland’s female panda Tian Tian, took first place for being the favorite panda living outside of China. She moved to Scotland from China in December 2011. Second place went to Australia’s female Fu Ni, and third place was awarded to Canada’s Da Mao.
Taipei Zoo’s Yuan Zai clearly stole the pub lie’s heart with her antics. Her playfull personality won her the first place in “Panda Personality of 2013: The Bear”. Taking second place by a margin was “hero mother” Lun Lun at Zoo Atlanta, who gave birth to her fourth and fifth surviving panda cubs in 2013. Relegated to bronze by only 2%, was Lin Bing, who moved from Thailand to China in October 2013.
First place was awarded to two American experts in the field of giant panda reproduction. The first was the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Dr. Copper Aitken-Palmer. Aitken-Palmer specializes in male panda reproduction. The second winner for first place was Western University of Health Sciences’ Dr. David Kersey, who specializes in female panda reproduction. Their numerous studies and cooperations with both the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and the China Conservation Centre for the Giant Panda (CCRCGI have been very important in advancing scientific knowledge of giant panda breeding. It was their world with Lun Lun and Yang Yang at Zoo Atlanta that resulted in the birth of Mei Lun and Mei Huan in 2013. CCRCGP’s Professor Tang Chunxiang won second place. Professor Tang was responsible for foreign collaborations with the China Conservation Centre for the Giant Panda. He performed artificial insemination (Al) on Mei Xiang in 2013, resulting in Bao Bao. Third place was awarded to Eric Domb, founder of the Belgian zoo, Pairi Daiza which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with the arrival of a pair of pandas Xing Hui and Hao Hao.
The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding’s Deng Tao won first place for “Panda Keeper of the Year”. Deng is the team leader of title keepers, and is one of the best panda nursery staff. He is known for going the extra mile to help mothers and their cubs. When Lun Lun gave birth to twins in Atlanta, there was no question that he would stay to help. American panda keeper Heather Roberts took second place, and Spanish keeper Alejandro Cabrera Montero took third place.
For the second year in a row, Zoo Parc de Beauval’s panda enclosure Sur Les Hauteurs de Chine won first place. Second place went to the David M. Rubenstein Family Habitat at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in the United States, and third place was given to the Instalaciones de Pandas Gigantes at Zoo Madrid.
For the second year running, the American panda charity, Pandas International, was voted as the “Favorite Panda Charity”. Second place was given to WWF, and third place went to the German charity, Giant Panda Friends International.