Yun Zi, the youngest panda at the San Diego Zoo, sniffs at the snow that filled his exhibit Thursday morning. This is the first time the two-year-old panda has ever seen snow. He came out of his bedroom, tested the snow to see if he could walk on it, and then made his way from one corner of the exhibit to the other. Horticulture staff from the Zoo constructed a 5-foot holiday tree from two types of bamboo - oldhamii and vivax - that was shaped to resemble a pine tree. They used a large block of ice for the tree stand but it was no match for Yun Zi. He approached the tree and swiftly knocked it over and nibbled the slices of fruit and vegetables that were hung as ornaments. Yun Zi then climbed up the icy tree stumps in his exhibit and napped above the winter wonderland below him. His mother, Bai Yun, stuck to her usual habits and sat in the middle of her exhibit munching on her morning bamboo, seeming oblivious to the snow around her. The 100-acre San Diego Zoo is dedicated to the conservation of endangered species and their habitats. The organization focuses on conservation and research work around the globe, educates millions of individuals a year about wildlife and maintains accredited horticultural, animal, library and photo collections. The Zoo also manages the 1,800-acre San Diego Zoo Safari Park (historically referred to as the Wild Animal Park), which includes a 900-acre native species reserve, and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.
(Image: © Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo)