... for a while at least. I did what'll probably be my last panda watch for a while this afternoon. Since the baby is due at the beginning of October or the end of September, I figured it would be a good idea to beg off from any panda watch shifts until after the baby arrives and we have some sort of routine down. I'm hoping I might be back in November, but it may be December or even 2005.
Mei Xiang is in the midst of pregnancy/pseudopregnancy (I'll use "p/p" as shorthand for this) symptoms again. As during last year's p/p watch, she is staying pretty still most of the time; she's super-tired and not eating much, but we won't know if she really is pregnant or not until there is either a hormone drop or a cub.
J---, the person who was watching Mei with me today, said it would be cool if Evelin and Mei had babies with the same birthday (and I have to admit that would be cool), but I don't think it's likely. Mei and Tian never consummated the act during the breeding season, so she was given an IUI of sorts, but it probably was done after she ovulated and was unlikely to have any effect.
But this year's nest is a lot bigger than the 2003 model, so who knows ...
I took a short stroll through the zoo before and after my watch. There is really a lot of construction going on: skylights and roofs being replaced at the Elephant House and Small Mammal House; something is being done to the otter and beaver enclosures; the bison have been relocated for work in their yard; and a huge chunk of the zoo is under construction for the new Asia Trail.
Despite that, there are a few new guys on exhibit. I got to check in on the maned wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus) that were brought in from the CRC, as well as the new red panda (Ailurus fulgens). Plus, there were four white-nosed coati (Nasua narica) running around in their enclosure: I hadn't realized we had so many of them.