What kind of experience is it to be a "poop shovel officer" for a Qinling panda?

  April 8th is the International Day for the Protection of Rare Animals.

At the foot of Zhongnan Mountain in Qinling, there are such a group of "national treasures" to accompany you

  Their daily work is to take care of the daily life of the "national treasures" and take care of their eating and drinking. But the most important thing is to let the Qinling giant panda family "spread branches and leaves" and "extend the children", and bring the "newborns" from generation to generation. Raised and reintroduced

  This is also an arduous journey: a successful round of wild release will take at least 50 years, after three generations of giant pandas.

  The road to protection is still long...

  Our reporter Sun Zhenghao

  At the foot of the Qinling Zhongnan Mountain, about 70 kilometers away from the ancient city of Xi’an, there is a group of lonely panda protectors. They are both "field doctors", "breeders", "stable women", and even "nanny". "Sometimes you even want to be a "poop shovel officer"!

  Their daily work is to take care of the daily life of the "national treasures" and take care of their eating and drinking. But the most important thing is to let the Qinling giant panda family "spread the branches and leaves" and "extend the offspring", as well as the "newborns" from generation to generation. "raise.

  April is the peak period for breeding and breeding of "National Treasures". For them, this is also the busiest time of the year.

Their work may look like this in an instant--

  At 2 o'clock in the morning, holding a flashlight, staring at the pandas quietly to see if they are in heat;

  Sweat for half an hour, just to feed 0.5 grams of milk to giant panda cubs weighing only more than 100 grams;

  To clean up panda feces, you have to pick up 50 jin in the most one day.


  Because of their efforts, the artificial family of giant pandas in Qinling has achieved "four generations under one roof". The number of artificial populations has increased from 0 in 2002 to 32 today. Shaanxi has also become the third giant panda breeding base in the world.

  These stories of harmonious coexistence between humans and nature have to be told from a "food crisis".

A "field doctor" running around in the deep mountains of Qinling

  Bamboo blooming

  Mimi lies in her mother's arms and counts the stars

  The stars are so beautiful

  Where is breakfast tomorrow

  Mimi Ya Mimi, please believe

  We did not forget you


  This public welfare song, sung in the mid to late 1980s, is called "Panda Mimi", created to save the "national treasure" giant panda.

  Why is there no breakfast for "National Treasure"?

  Bamboo blossoms, how romantic and poetic it sounds!

But for giant pandas who like to eat bamboo, flowering of bamboo is a cruel food crisis.

  Most bamboos have a flowering cycle of about 60 years, and die when they bloom, and it takes 8 to 10 years to resurrect.

The "Shan Hai Jing" states that "bamboo changes its roots in 60 years, and the roots must produce flowers, the flowers must bear fruit, and the fruit must wither."

Therefore, many bamboos only bloom once in their lives. After they bloom, giant pandas can no longer eat them.

  Unfortunately, in the mid-1980s, the arrow bamboo in some giant panda habitats in my country bloomed and died, and many "national treasures" were starved to death as a result.

The song "Panda Mimi" is being sung throughout the country in this era, and many people in the country have taken action to find "tomorrow's breakfast" for pandas.

  At this time, a "field emergency hospital" that was ordered in danger, namely the Rare Wildlife Rescue and Breeding Research Center of Shaanxi Province (now the Qinling Giant Panda Research Center, hereinafter referred to as the Research Center) was also urgently established in the Qinling Mountains-an experiment in Louguantai, Shaanxi The forest farm and the two rows of simple houses in the nursery were temporarily converted into "emergency rooms". Several animal protection personnel who have been transferred are on standby here at any time.

  Their mission is also to save the "national treasure" giant panda, but to save another independent subspecies-Qinling subspecies.

  The Qinling giant panda was discovered in the early 1960s. Unlike the Sichuan subspecies distributed in the other five mountain systems, the Qinling giant panda has a small head, large teeth, and a rounder head, like a cat, which looks more simple and cute.

  It was the Sichuan subspecies of giant panda that was threatened to survive due to the phenomenon of bamboo blooming, but it is better to "prepare for a rainy day" than to "remedy the situation". After the establishment of the "emergency hospital", the animal protection personnel are like "field doctors", running around the Qinling mountains all the year round. , Look for Qinling giant pandas that are sick, frail, old, and hungry, and send them to doctors in time.

  "In the winter of 1991, heavy snow covered the Sanguan Temple in the hinterland of the Qinling Mountains. Occasionally, Bashan bamboo and tall shrubs exposed dry branches."

  "In a cave with a leeward wind and sunny, a giant panda cub lay alone on the dry grass paving exuding the mother's body temperature, wailing and waiting to be fed. The ranger Wang Tiejun and others were quietly beside the cave. Observe that the mothers of the cubs who are looking forward to go out for food will appear. The wisps of mountain wind tore their faces purple and numb, but the mother of the cubs never appeared."

  "Can't wait any longer, Lao Wang and the others made up their minds. He wrapped the cub in his own cotton jacket, and a few people trot all the way back to the protection station..."

  In the book "The Story of the Giant Panda "Lou Sheng"," Zhao Pengpeng, a senior veterinarian at the research center, wrote down the entire process of rescue screens in the field.

Pingping is the father of the first artificially bred Qinling giant panda "Lou Sheng", and the first "heritor" who fulfilled the glorious mission of "four generations in one house" of the artificial Qinling giant panda family.

  There are more than 340 wild giant pandas living in the Qinling area, with an average of 10 giant pandas per 100 square kilometers. The wild population density ranks first in the country. Attacks by natural enemies, sudden illnesses, accidental falls... Wild pandas are facing survival threats at any time.

  Therefore, for more than 30 years, salvation has never stopped!

  "Every time in the field, we have to carry a lot of medicines on our backs, and we have to carry a dozen bottles of sugar water and salt water." Pan Guanglin is currently a senior veterinarian in the research center. For the safety and health of a giant panda, once there is a rescue mission, it must be set off in time. In order to save energy, "they often eat instant noodles and pot helmets."

  Injured giant pandas are usually in the mountains and no man’s land. Many times, Pan Guanglin and his colleagues travel through the dense forests of the Qinling Mountains with no roads. They walk 20 to 30 kilometers. Sometimes, they go up the mountain at 7 in the morning and only at 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Arrived at the ambulance point.

  In the Qinling Mountains in summer, the climate is sultry, hot and humid, and the mountains are full of leeches and mosquitoes. When these mollusks see people, they show their blood-sucking instinct.

Pan Guanglin and the others often wrapped their legs in protective clothing and kept advancing along the valleys and ridges.

  Giant pandas are rich in subcutaneous fat, dense back hair, underdeveloped sweat glands, and difficulty in dissipating heat on the body surface, so they are afraid of heat but not cold.

Especially in the winter when the mountains are covered by snow, giant pandas are often very excited and happily all over the ground.

Relatively speaking, there are more sudden rescues.

  "That time, my colleague and I went to the wild to rescue the giant panda city. At 11 o'clock in the evening, everyone walked to the forest supply station in the depths of the Qinling Mountains. The mountain was blocked by heavy snow and the nearby river was all frozen. We couldn't find water. Bring the snow on the mountain to the big iron pot at the replenishment station, boil it, and cook instant noodles to eat.” Pan Guanglin recalled.

  The bowl is not enough, the tray of the kettle comes together; there is no chopsticks, a few bamboos will be made temporarily, and after eating, continue on the road.

  Around 2 in the morning, on a steep slope of 60 degrees, everyone found the injured city. Because it was bitten by another animal, it was frightened and hid on a big tree, curled up.

Pan Guanglin and his colleagues stood under the tree, quietly waiting for dawn.

  "In a snowy day, the fire couldn't be lit. We were too cold to stand it. So we swept away the snow, scraped away the wet soil, got dry wood, and used antiseptic alcohol to get the fire." Pan Guanglin recalled, "At dawn, we use it. The soft pocket coaxed the city down, infused the fluid, and carried it to the research center on a stretcher, and finally cured it."

  The giant pandas who have recovered well will choose to be released. Those who fail to meet the conditions for release are just like seeds after another, staying in the "seed source bank" of the research center.

"Breeders" who have experienced the "Eight-one Difficulties"

  Ripening melons often have to go through a difficult and long gestation.

Every time the artificial breeding of giant pandas succeeds, from estrus, breeding, semen collection, insemination to production, "it's like going through nine or eighty-one difficulties."

  If you want giant pandas to have more babies, you have to increase the success rate of breeding. The key step for successful breeding is the determination of the best breeding time for giant pandas during estrus. This was once the number one problem faced by the research center.

  In 2003, when Lou Sheng's mother Xuexue bred with his father Pingping, the artificial breeding technology of Qinling pandas was still blank, with almost zero accumulation.

This means that in artificial breeding, the determination of the best mating time for female pandas during the estrus period can only be observed with the naked eye.

  Under captive conditions, giant pandas only estrus once a year, mostly in winter and spring, each lasting about one to two weeks, and the best mating time is often only one day.

Therefore, in the winter and spring, the coldest time in Qinling Mountains-the peak period of panda estrus, even at 2 o'clock in the morning, there will still be keepers holding flashlights and quietly watching the pandas in estrus in the dark, uninterrupted. Observe carefully and record a lot.

  "The week when Lou Sheng's mother Xuexue was in estrus, we all worked 24 hours a day. We couldn't get home at all, and we couldn't even take care of meals." said Zhao Pengpeng, who was involved in breeding at the time.

Giant pandas in estrus are often "hormonal bursting", lively and active.

"If Xuexue is in the pen, we will squat on the aisle next to it; if it goes outside to play, we will have to follow it wherever it goes, staying there for a moment, and keep observing to see if it has bleating, tail-racking, or frolicking. Estrus behaviors such as water, cold baths, etc."

  Several times of semen collection, several inseminations, and repeated breedings, almost every link must be explored step by step, and we must try our best to ensure the safety of pandas.

If any node is not well controlled, all previous efforts will be lost.

  Successful conception is not easy, and delivery must be foolproof.

Although full of expectations, the prenatal days are even more difficult.

"At that time, we were few people. We lived in the pens half a month earlier, and three or four people took turns shifting to work." Zhao Pengpeng recalled, "July is the hottest time in the Qinling Mountains, and the pens are boring and damp. I squatted in the aisle almost every day to observe whether the pregnant panda had a pregnancy reaction. At that time, there was no duty room by the pen and the conditions were very difficult. After half a month, everyone's knee joints began to swell and they couldn't even walk."

  After 152 days of pregnancy, on August 2, 2003, during the scorching summer season when "flying mosquitoes greedily bite every birth attendant", Xuexue successfully gave birth to a female cub weighing 187 grams.

  The research center is located in Louguantai, a famous place in Zhongnan, where Laozi built an altar and lectures. Everyone named the cubs "Lou Sheng".

As the first giant panda successfully bred in Shaanxi with the help of artificial technology, Lou Sheng's birth is self-evident.

  "At that time, we were holding it as if we were holding a child who had been passed on for several generations, and our hearts were heavy." Zhao Pengpeng said.

  This heavy heart is not only because of the hard-won "Lousheng", but also because the number one problem that restricts the artificial population of Qinling giant pandas-how to improve the success rate of breeding through reproductive hormone detection technology has not been solved.

  Reproductive hormone detection technology is the core technology of artificial breeding of giant pandas, and it is also a "stuck neck" technology.

Zhao Pengpeng said: "To solve this number one problem, we can only continue to experiment."

  In order to achieve technological breakthroughs as soon as possible, for most of 2017, Shen Jina and her colleagues lived in the laboratory.

"There is no other way but to try again and again, just like permutations and combinations in mathematics. Often a combination requires a day of trial." Shen Jina said.

  At the end of 2017, the core technology of reproductive hormone detection technology was overcome, and new challenges followed.

  Shen Jina said: "Urine samples are tested 24 hours a day during peak estrus. Every successful pairing of giant pandas requires us to work day and night for nearly half a month in order to find the best time."

  After all the way through the border, the artificial breeding of giant pandas in the research center is more scientific, and the breeding efficiency is significantly improved.

  In July 2019, Qinling giant panda twins Jiajia and Yuanyuan were born;

  In August 2019, the Qinling giant panda Qin Queer was born;

  On August 17, 2020, Lou's daughter, 6-year-old Qinling giant panda Yongyong, gave birth to a female cub;

  On August 22, 2020, Qinling giant panda Qin Qin gave birth to twins;

  On October 11, 2020, the 20-year-old giant panda Zhuzhu gave birth to a male cub.


  By the end of 2020, the number of artificially bred giant pandas in the research center will reach 32, and Shaanxi has become the third giant panda breeding base in the world.

  Among them, Yongyong's cub is Lou Sheng's granddaughter.

Its birth marks the "three generations" of the artificial breeding population of Qinling giant pandas, and the artificial family of Qinling giant pandas has realized "four generations under one roof".

A "nanny" who is more competent than taking care of his own children

  The oldest giant panda fossils discovered so far were unearthed in Lufeng and Yuanmou, Yunnan, my country. The geological age is about 8 million years ago.

In the millions of years of "natural selection", most of the animals of the same era have been extinct, and only the giant panda survived tenaciously. Therefore, the giant panda is known as the "living fossil" of the biological world.

  However, this does not mean that the giant panda has a strong ability to survive once it is born.

On the contrary, newly born cubs are very fragile and easy to die.

Therefore, the cub period of the giant panda is the most critical, and in artificial breeding, professional and responsible artificial breeding is particularly important.

  The giant panda Yongyong, born in 2014, is Lou Sheng’s daughter and the third generation of the Qinling giant panda’s "four generations under one roof" family.

When he was born, Hou Jia, a veterinarian at the research center, was one of Yongyong's "nanny".

As the father of two children, Hou Jia admitted that he may be less than one-tenth of Yongyong's care for his children.

  Hou Jia said: "For example: Yongyong has finished breast milk. When we take out the baby, we must first rub our hands. If your hands are too cold, it will subconsciously clamp the baby when it touches the female cat. It is very dangerous for the young."

  Artificial breeding must ensure "zero accidents"!

In the first few months of Yongyong's birth, the nurses were on duty 24 hours a day, all night, and the work they did was "like a tiny dust" and "heavy as a mountain."

  Artificial childcare must be scientific and professional.

"When a cub is born, its weight is only nearly one-thousandth of the weight of the mother's body. It is very delicate." Hou Jia said, "This requires us to have great patience and perseverance. We often say that childcare is not only a technical job, but also A conscience, because you are dealing with a fragile and cute little life."

  "I am most afraid of pups getting sick! Common colds, dehydration, and malnutrition will seriously threaten the survival of pups." Lei Yinghu, director of the research center, said, "Therefore, we must continue to improve disease prevention and treatment techniques."

  In 2013, ten days after a cub was born, wet erythema the size of a grain of rice appeared on the shoulder.

Two hours later, the erythema began to grow larger and spread to two square centimeters the next day.

The appetite, urination and defecation of the cubs are basically normal.

After an emergency consultation with multiple experts, the pathogen of the skin disease was finally determined to be a superficial fungus.

Because of fear of infection, the center quickly initiated quarantine measures.

  The nurses vacated the lounge and let the cubs live alone, and everyone moved into makeshift tents.

It was summer, and it was either high temperature or heavy rain. This stay was 20 days; some nurses drove to Xi'an to find medicine, and they were already two or three in the morning when they returned... Later, everyone named it "An'an".

Now, An An is more than 7 years old and is in the "flower season", lively and cheerful!

  The biggest wish of the "nanny" is to hope that every panda can grow up healthy.

  In its infancy, giant pandas grow rapidly, gaining an average of about 2 kilograms in one month.

"Seeing them gulping, we are very happy. The more they eat, the more tired we will be. The most one day, just picking up feces, we have to pick up about 50 kilograms, but we are happy in the heart." Xu Guanglan, an assistant veterinarian at the Research Center, said, “Watching them grow from the pink and tender'little mice' to the black and white'big dumplings' step by step is our happiest moment."

  "As a companion of the'National Treasure', our beautiful vision is to hope that they can all return to nature after being taken care of." Lei Yinghu said.

Reintroduction is the ultimate goal of all rescued and captive giant pandas for ex situ conservation, and it is also a difficult road to search: a successful wild release takes at least 50 years and three generations of giant pandas!

  Therefore, the road to protection is still very long...

  Another spring of the revival of all things has come, and the new breeding season is busy and fulfilling. Louguantai, as the place of victory in the south and one of the birthplaces of Chinese Taoism, is experiencing a new round of life cycle. Yin in the Western Zhou Dynasty Xi has also joined the grass tower here, watching the stars and looking at the air, quietly thinking to the Tao, hence the name "Lou Guan".

  "We are also asking about Dao Zhongnan, but the Dao we pursue is the harmonious symbiosis between man and nature." Lei Yinghu said.