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Panda Updates – Friday, April 7

As part of our enrichment program, we offer the pandas various scents. Some of their favorites are cinnamon, mint mouthwash, TABASCO® sauce, and pure vanilla extract. Though these are items that humans ingest, the pandas do not put them in their mouths at all. The primary reaction we see from the pandas to scent enrichment is what we call self-anointing behavior. The pandas find the odoriferous substance, then they roll in it, and rub it on their heads and bodies. The cubs usually take a few months before they notice or respond to the scent enrichment items, and they don’t always like the same scents that their parents prefer. It’s always fun to see the cubs’ first reactions to scent enrichment. Check out Zoo Atlanta Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for a video of the first time Xi Lun responded to pure vanilla extract. Interestingly, Ya Lun joined Xi Lun shortly after I took the video and did not react to the scent. We also noticed that the Mei twins had differing responses to the same scent enrichment; however, Lun Lun and Yang Yang both like the same scents.
Heather R.
Senior Keeper, Carnivores

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