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Panda Updates – Friday, August 21

The training we do at Zoo Atlanta is all based around the animals having the opportunity and choice to participate in their own health care. By asking the animals to present different portions of their bodies, we are able to train for behaviors such as eye and shoulder presents, blood draws, and quick dental checks. The giant pandas are highly food-motivated animals (surprising, I know), so they are usually very eager to participate in training and spend some time with their Care Team. Here you can see me training Yang Yang for some of the basic behaviors he and Lun Lun both know that help us visually check them every day. Again, this helps them help us make sure they are nice and healthy without having to use anesthesia for every checkup. For example, Yang Yang takes quite a long time to chew, so the sessions aren’t super fast-paced. If you have ever observed a training session, the whistle noise you hear is called a “bridge,” and it signals to Yang Yang that he has completed the behavior I’ve asked him for, and that a reward is coming soon. I love training with the giant pandas because it’s a nice way to spend some productive time with them one on one. 

Check out our social networks later today for a video!

Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals

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