A Mind of His Own
April 24 — July 1, 2006
Tai Shan's climbing skills continued to improve, and his love for trees remained undiminished. He could now climb over the protective metal sleeves that are meant to protect certain trees from feisty young pandas. The keepers continued to have a difficult time getting Tai Shan to come down from his tree at the end of the day. Once he remained in a tree until well past midnight, and on another occasion he remained in his perch until 11 p.m. — during a thunderstorm! The keepers discovered that bribing Tai Shan with fruitcicles frequently works in convincing him to come down, but not always.
Mei Xiang began to enter a different phase in her role as Tai Shan's mother. Since Tai Shan had begun eating bamboo, she faced the difficult task of transitioning her cub from a diet of high-fat milk to one of high-fiber but low-nutrient bamboo.
Mei Xiang became less tolerant of the rambunctious youngster. Tai Shan enjoyed leaping on her back and biting at her ears to initiate play, but he often received a swat instead. He was even pushed away several times when attempting to nurse.
With Tai Shan's first birthday fast approaching, only time will tell what the next year has in store for this precocious, precious panda.