Calling All Panda Lovers! CPTV Presents an Evening Devoted to One of the World’s Most Beloved Animals

Release Date: 07/09/2009

Panda Tales Premieres at 8 p.m., followed by Panda Nursery at 8:45 p.m., on Tuesday, July 21 on Connecticut Public Television (CPTV)

Since making her entrance into the world, Zhen Zhen, fourth in the line of the San Diego Zoo’s “royal family,” has captivated legions with her antics and charm. The giant panda cub’s first year was marked not only by her milestones and those of her siblings, but also by the massive earthquake in China that devastated the giant panda breeding center closely tied to the zoo’s conservation efforts.

Panda Tales, airing on Tuesday, July 21 at 8 p.m. on CPTV, highlights a time of excitement and learning — and not just for Zhen Zhen. A decade ago, the panda population in the wild was dwindling dangerously due to a low reproductive rate, a disappearing habitat and vanishing food sources. Thanks to knowledge gleaned partly through the zoo’s research, pandas at the Wolong Giant Panda Breeding Center and Reserve in China, one of the San Diego’s partners in conservation, now mate naturally and successfully nurture and raise their offspring. In the past 10 years, the population there has quadrupled.  

Amid the story of Zhen Zhen’s progress, an unexpected storyline emerged nine months into filming. A massive earthquake in China on May 12 struck in the heart of panda country. At Wolong, many of the giant panda enclosures were destroyed or severely damaged. Panda Tales captures the zoo team’s concern for their colleagues in China, as well as plans to aid in the breeding center’s rebuilding.

Though there is no shortage of endearing clips of Zhen Zhen as she grows, Panda Tales is much more than a collection of “aw”-inspiring images. The program takes a serious look at the plight of the giant panda and how the zoo’s program has affected the resurgence of this endearing species.

Following Panda Tales is the special, Panda Nursery, at 8:45 pm on CPTV. Panda Nursery is the inspiring story of the birth of twin panda cubs at Wolong Natural Reservation Park in Sichuan, China. The cubs are the product of years of focused and often frustrating work – by scientists and conservationists. This documentary covers the first six months of life of twin giant panda cubs, and their incredible struggle for survival.

CPTV is a media service of the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network (CPBN, www.cpbn.org). It is a locally and nationally recognized producer and presenter of quality public television programming, including UConn Women’s Basketball, original documentaries and educational programming. CPTV has built a reputation as a leader in children’s programming, including playing a historical role in bringing Barney & Friends™, Bob the Builder™ and Thomas & Friends™ to public television. The station offers 11 hours of positive, nurturing children’s programming each weekday, reaching 50,000 to 70,000 households daily.

The Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network also includes WNPR, an affiliate of National Public Radio, Public Radio International and American Public Media. WNPR serves over 200,000 listeners in Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island with news and information. Its award-winning local programming includes The Faith Middleton Show and Where We Live. Overall, the network brings a broad spectrum of public affairs, entertainment, sports and educational programming to viewers, listeners and readers. For more information, visit www.cptv.org and/or www.wnpr.org

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