Baby Panda Born at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo

A panda has been born at a Tokyo zoo for the first time in 24 years. Tokyos popular Ueno Zoo says the panda was born Thursday to Shin Shin, a 7-year-old brought to Japan from China just before Japans devastating earthquake and tsunami last year.The gender of the baby panda was not immediately known. Zoo officials say the baby and the new mother appear to be in good health, but theyll be monitoring them around the clock.

Latest Earthquake Victim is Satsuki, Ueno Zoo’s Star Hippo

Japan’s monster earthquake has claimed its latest victim, a popular hippo named Satsuki at the Tokyo zoo.

The 39-year-old animal, who became a popular attraction after appearing in a tooth brushing event, has been hobbled with injuries since the magnitude 9 quake struck last month, zoo officials said. She died last Saturday.

Keepers at the Ueno Zoo said Satsuki was in a pool when the tremblor hit on March 11 and did not suffer any injuries. However, the hippo lost her balance and twisted her left front leg as she walked back to her cage an hour after the shaking stopped. Officials believe the shock and stress from the record setting jolt may rattled and disoriented the animal.

Read the rest of the story: Hippo Dies on Tokyo Zoo, Latest Earthquake Victim.

Japan eager for panda arrival from China

Japan is rolling out a red carpet ahead of the arrival of much-awaited special guests from China: a pair of giant pandas.

The two 5-year-old pandas are due to arrive at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo on Monday. They’ll be the zoo’s first since the 2008 death of its beloved giant panda Ling Ling.

The Ueno area was filled with panda themes Sunday. Streets were decorated with banners carrying panda cartoons, and shops were selling novelty goods.

"The pandas are finally coming to town," said beaming Masahiro Kayano, a jewelry store owner in Ueno. "We are so excited."

The zoo’s first pair of pandas arrived in 1972, marking the signing of a peace treaty between Japan and China.

Expectations are running high for the new set of pandas to boost Tokyo’s economy and its troubled relations with Beijing.

Read the rest of the story: Japan eagerly awaits pandas arriving from China.

Pandas to arrive to Ueno Zoo in February

A pair of giant pandas to be leased from China will arrive at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo in February, sources said Saturday.

The giant pandas will be the zoo’s first since Ling-Ling, a male panda, died in April 2008, and follows a deal between the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and China to borrow the popular animals for 10 years.

One of the pandas is a male named Bili, and the other is a female called Xiannu.

Read the rest of the story: Ueno Zoo to get pandas in February.

Tokyo Ueno Zoo to get Panda Pair from China

Japanese panda fans will be able to see the endangered animals in Tokyo next year for the first time since 2008, after the city reached an agreement to pay nearly $1 million a year to borrow a pair from China, officials said Friday.

Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo has been without a giant panda for the first time since 1972, when a pair arrived to mark the signing of a peace treaty between Japan and China. Ling Ling, a panda who came to Tokyo in 1992, died in April 2008 at the age of 22, which in human terms is equivalent to about 70.

Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara told reporters Friday that two pandas are expected to arrive in Tokyo early next year and would cost $950,000 a year.

“It’s quite a costly deal,” Ishihara said, adding that Tokyo officials bargained to get $50,000 off the original $1 million price tag. The payments will help rebuild a panda sanctuary in China’s Sichuan province and fund joint breeding projects between Japan and China, he said.

The sanctuary was nearly destroyed by a devastating earthquake in Sichuan in May 2008.

Read the rest of the story: Tokyo to receive 2 pandas from China next year

Ueno Zoo

In loving memory of Ling Ling…may she not be forgotten nor the friendship she symbolized.

Today I visited Ueno zoo and was pleasantly surprised. I had gone mainly to see the star of the show, Ling Ling, a giant panda. I have never seen a panda before. She alone was worth the price of admission. She was charming. She was sprawled on a platform dozing. Sometimes, she would roll on her side and scratch her tummy. She was adorable. She was oblivious to all the gawking and ogling of the little children and grown ups that had lined up along her cage.

I hadn’t expected to see such a diversity of animals on exhibit in such a small area. Although I sometimes wondered how the larger animals felt being caged in as they were in such tiny enclosures. There was a pair of polar bears, a mother and her cub (I think) that were pacing back and forth in a small enclosure. There wasn’t much space for them to move about. Poor things. I suppose zoos have become now a means of protecting endangered species for posterity, which is a good thing when you come to think of it but should the animals be made a spectacle? It’s food for thought anyway. Nevertheless, zoos serve an educational purpose especially where the young are concerned teaching them about the importance of protecting wildlife.

Other animals that caught my fancy included the Asiatic lions, the tiger, the gorillas, the Andean condor, the giraffes, the Galapagos Tortoise, the Komodo dragon, the dwarfed crocodile, the Hippos and the pygmy hippos, the giant Aardvark, the Asian elephants, the Okapi, the raccoon dogs, the Styan’s Red Panda, and the flock of pink flamingos.

The penguins were adorable too. They were mainly standing about but a few were swimming in the pool. There were King Penguins, Macaroni Penguins, and Jackass Penguins. Why would anyone name a species of penguins “Jackass” I wondered. There enclosure was next to the sea lions, their natural predators. I hope this is an oversight.

I enjoyed having a peak at the various species of cranes on display. There was a pair of Red-Crowned Cranes (Crus Japonensis). One was asleep standing on one leg with her head tucked underneath her wing. There was a pair of white-naped cranes, a pair of black-necked cranes, a pair of wattled cranes, and a solitary secretary bird. How sad I thought to be without a mate. They all started to screech for some reason. It was quite funny. They would tilt their head, open their beaks, and belch out a screech. They were amusing.

Also, on exhibit were various species of bears. There was the Hokkaido Brown Bear, the Japanese Black Bear, and a Sun Bear.

The five-storied pagoda I soon discovered was enclosed within the confines of the Ueno Zoo. I got a chance to have a good look at it. It’s quite beautiful. I was able to walk around it. A moat surrounds it filled with waterfowl.

Also, within the grounds of Ueno zoo, I came across what looks like a walled burial ground. There’s nothing on the zoo map to indicate it but it’s there. It’s near the Toshogu shrine and wonder if it isn’t the burial ground of the Tokugawa shoguns. There was an enclosed column of nine stupa like structures. And on the other side, there were two smaller enclosed areas, one having two of these stupa like structures and the other three of them. When I was peaking over the wall, I noticed the area was neglected and unkempt. It looked desolate and wondered why it was so.

I also came across “Takatora Todos Tea Ceremony House”. Here’s the description which I copied from the plaque.

Takatora Todo, a military commander, was ranked high by Hideyoshi Toyotomi and Ieyasu Tokugawa. This tea ceremony house was built about 350 years ago and used for the reception of shoguns who paid a visit to the the Toshogu Shrine for Worship. It was erected in memory of Ieyasu Tokugawa, the founder of the Tokugawas Shogunate. Now a trace of its former elegant appearance still remains.

Actually, it looked unkempt and neglected.

My aching feet were demanding I take a break so I stopped and had lunch at one of the many concessions located in various sections of the zoo. The food wasn’t bad. It filled the spot and was reasonably priced.

So, if you have time on your hands and you want to do something different, why not visit the Ueno Zoo. Perhaps, you might be like me and be pleasantly surprised.

Originally posted on ThingsAsian.