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panda provisions:

from bamboo groves to panda mouths


Foraging for the pandas is lots of work. Milton Tierney, 52, who has nearly 20 years of experience as a zookeeper, and driver Jody Taylor, 56, arrive armed only with lopping shears. They survey the grounds for a few moments before they begin, searching for an area where the stalks are green and leafy. Then they begin lopping. Before hauling the bamboo back to the truck, they may have to trim the stalks, which can be more than 20 feet tall.  Because the bamboo leaves are so full, someone has to press them down before they're put on the truck, which Taylor is doing above (bottom right).

After they have collected enough bamboo, the staffers return to the zoo, where they wash and unload it into the storage shed behind the panda exhibit. There, small sprinklers mist over the bamboo continually, ensuring that it stays fresh until the pandas get their paws on it.

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Copyright 2001 University of Maryland College of Journalism

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