National Geographic : 1995 Apr
On Television In the Bamboo Forest With Wild Pandas ourteen months old and still growing strong, a panda cub (left) thrives on bamboo leaves and shoots in the Qin Ling mountains of central China. Observed from the time she was just days old, when she weighed only four ounces, Xi Wang, meaning Hope, stars in a new National Geographic Special. "Secrets of the Wild Panda" provides a rare look at panda behavior in the animals' own environment. Two Chinese scientists, Pan Wenshi and Lii Zhi, have closely studied the giant pandas of the Qin Ling for a decade. Their pioneering work has revealed that a panda mother will stay with her cub, never eating, for as long as 25 days after it is born. Then she may leave her young for hours while she feeds to regain strength. This natural behavior, when observed previously, was thought to be abandonment. Perhaps 1,200 giant pandas remain in all of China, where they are threatened by logging, poaching, and genetic isola tion. Pan Wenshi and L Zhi race against the clock to learn more about these elusive animals. Why, they wonder, do panda young, so fragile in captivity, thrive in the wild? "Secrets of the Wild Panda," Special on NBC, March 29, 8p.m. ET. LU ZHI Crossing Continents in a Time Machine c Timy 1, cleared to land," radioed the control tower. V "Welcome back to Darwin after all these years." With those words, the dream of Peter McMillan, an American, and Lang Kidby, an Australian, was won: to re-create a 1919 flight from England to Australia that showed the feasibility of round-the-world air travel. Their journey is chronicled in EXPLORER's "The Greatest Flight" ROSSSMITH (LEFT); JAMES L. STANFIELD (and in next month's GEOGRAPHIC). terror of a crash landing in Sumatra. Resurrecting original blueprints, Rough landings also challenged McMillan and Kidby built a World the original crew (left). "The Great War I-era Vickers Vimy biplane est Flight" interweaves the stories bomber (above) with open cockpit of the 1919 and 1994 adventures, and cotton-covered wings, fitting separated by 75 years but united in it with modern engines and naviga- a common spirit of daring. tion gear. McMillan describes the "The Greatest Flight" airs April 30 joy of cruising over the Taj Mahal at at9 p.m. ET on EXPLORER, a stately 75 miles an hour and the TBS Superstation. NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSPECIALSAIR ON NBC;CHECKLOCALLISTINGS. NATIONALGEOGRAPHICEXPLORERAIRSON TBS SUPERSTATION,SUNDAYSAT 9 P.M. ET . FOR INFORMATIONON NATIONALGEOGRAPHICVIDEOS, CALL1-800-343-6610, MONDAYTHROUGHFRIDAY, 8 A.M. TO 5 P.M . ET, IN THE U. S . ANDCANADAONLY.