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Panda Updates – Wednesday, June 17

During this time, the Carnivore Team has changed up the way we do a few things to ensure the safety and well-being of the animals are being met. You’ve probably already seen that all Zoo Atlanta team members and animal care professionals are wearing masks, and additionally, are maintaining social distance with other Zoo Atlanta teammates, as well as the animals that we care for. Out of an abundance of caution, we make sure to maintain six feet between us and the giant pandas even when we are training.

For the Panda Care Team, we have been using a PVC pipe to maintain six feet while being able to offer them reinforcement. First, we introduce the PVC pipe to the bear. Holding one end near the mesh and making sure we don’t see any behaviors that signal they are not comfortable. We continue to acclimate them to it by feeding them with reinforcement using the PVC. Once we have seen that they have remained calm and are not showing any signs of being bothered by it, we can continue with our training session by asking the individual for different behaviors. So far, all of the bears have been introduced to this new type of training. It has certainly taken them some getting used to, as it’s very different from what they know! Recently Heather and I did a training session with Yang Yang, and he did great! He was very interested in the PVC pipe but wasn’t bothered by it at all. Even despite the current circumstances, we are able to come up with novel ways to continue engaging and interacting with the bears while continuing to be safe and socially distant!

Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals

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