16 December 2010
Posted in NatureWorks
Researchers at Hetaoping Research and Conservation Center in China believe that dressing up as a panda while working with captive born panda cubs is beneficial to the animals living a normal life in the wild. The panda suit helps the panda cub imprint on pandas instead of humans. Imprinting is a behavioral adaptation that gives an animal its identity and gives it an image of what its future mate should look like and what to guard its territory against.In the wild, animals imprint upon their parents.
However in captivity, there are lots of humans around who interact with the young cub, taking measurements and giving it health exams, that the cub might imprint on humans and think it is human. This may sound silly, but this occurs quite often with young birds. Animals who imprint on humans do not survive well in the wild, thus the hope that the researchers dressed as a panda will help the young panda cub imprint on pandas and live a successful life in the wild.
Check out these websites to see more pictures and learn more information about their research:
Misty is an Animal Care Technician at the Science Center and is found in NatureWorks. Animals and Ecology are her passions and she jumps at every opportunity to talk about it. Stop in and say Hello!