Enough to pay $5,000 plus airfare to go visit him? That well-known panda-lobbying organization The Friends of the National Zoo is organizing a 10-day trip this fall to China, one that will include a stop at the Bifengxia Wildlife Preserve, home to our beloved Tai Shan. Sure, there’s lots of culture and dining and education and blah blah blah mixed in, but we know what it’s really all about: checking up on Butterstick to make sure he hasn’t been brainwashed by the communists.
This was the big weekend for Tian Tian and Mei Xiang to try for another Butterstick (okay, nothing could replace our Tai Shan, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want another baby panda to coo and gush over) and that meant there was a lot of panda sex this weekend. According to the Zoo, though, all that hot and heavy action wasn’t for much (“competent mating did not occur” – which is kinda the story of Youth in Revolt), and they had to tranq both animals and help them out a little bit.
Mei Xiang and Tian Tian will spend the next 3-6 months in separate enclosures to protect the nascent pregnancy (assuming there is one…) and the mother. Hopefully by summertime, we’ll have a new panda to cuddle. And may I just say, as cute as these animals are, evolution sure is against these guys…just one opportunity to mate per year? It’s worse than having a girlfriend in another state.
The end draws near on Tai Shan’s time in our fair District.
Zoo goers and panda enthusiasts will forever remember his tenure as one that brought joy to the eyes of children and adults alike. What better way to say “Peace out, District. What up, China?” than a giant party being thrown in your honor?
The Friends of the National Zoo is hosting the official “Farewell to Tai Shan” party at the National Zoo. The event is scheduled for January 30 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Activities include: talks with panda experts, goodbye card writing, and sweet-sweet panda lovin’ (aka oooo-ing and ahhh-ing at how gosh darn cute that lil’ panda is).
I know, this is news to no one, that Tai Shan is the cutest little Butterstick the world has ever seen. However, thanks to his American training, he can even do cute things while asleep: A British tourist caught him doing a somersault in his sleep. That’s right, our panda is so awesome he does gymnastics in his sleep. The sad thing is, the Chinese are taking him back from us soon, so you’d better head out to the Zoo ASAP. Well, that is, unless we’re smart and we take the Panda hostage…
This is your warning to get your goodbye’s in while you still can! Everyone’s favorite panda, Tai Shan, will be bidding DC adieu in early 2010. You know you’ll be kicking yourself in rear-end if you miss out on this chance to catch a glimpse of cuteness before he leaves us for China.
So go early and go often!
Tickets are available at the gate ($5 for members and $8 for non-members). ZooLights are open between the hours of 6-8:30 p.m. Visit nationalzoo.si.edu for more information.
Photo by @caitdouglas
Many thanks to Cait Douglas who sent in this image of K Street’s snow art from today. I love that we’re a city that, in addition to the traditional snowman (scarves and hats and all!) will also sculpt some sweet Snow Pandas. That’s right, Butterstick himself in snow form. Bravo, DC. Bravo.