History was made today: an iPad app-based biography of a baby panda has debuted on Apple's App Store.
The $3.99 app called "Baby Panda's New Home" is an interactive e-book featuring photos and video that trace the life of Zhen Zhen the panda.
The app's creators said in a press release that the app "tells the remarkable story of Zhen Zhen’s birth and early years at the San Diego Zoo and her eventual journey to China to live at the Wolong Nature Reserve. The story includes everything from Zhen Zhen’s first doctor visit to her birthday parties (including giant cakes!), her airplane trip and eventual relocation into the wild."
Though "Baby Panda's New Home" is described as a children's book on iTunes, it's bound to be irresistible for panda-lovers of all ages: in addition to the 34-page story about Zhen Zhen, which a narrator will read aloud as the user navigates through the book, the app includes a gallery of panda photos, fun facts about pandas, and videos of Zhen Zhen's life in the zoo. Unfortunately, there's no live panda cam (we had high hopes) and only a few pictures of Zhen Zhen (though they include a photo of the panda doing a somersault).
The app underscores Zhen Zhen's celebrity status, as well as the insatiable interest in all things panda-related. The San Diego Zoo's announcement last year that pandas Zhen Zhen and Su Lin would be leaving for China received over 150 comments from the panda's fans.
"I can’t believe Su Lin and Zhen Zhen are leaving soon! It’s so sad! They’re both big bundles of joy and we all enjoy watching them on the panda cam!" wrote one user, "Annie Panda."
Thanks to "Baby Panda's New Home," fans have another chance to get up close and personal with the star panda.
"The baby pandas at the San Diego Zoo have generated tremendous interest with the public,”San Diego Zoo Global's director of marketing Ted Molter said in a statement. “Creating an app that shares these adorable bears with kids in an educational way helps us to continue our mission of conserving these animals.”