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Panda Updates – Friday, June 14

It is important that the animals here at Zoo Atlanta have positive relationships with all members of their care teams. This is why we put such a strong emphasis on giving the animals choice and control over their days, as well as the option to voluntarily participate in their training. Due to the medical nature of some of our trained behaviors, it is equally as important that the animals have positive relationships with the Veterinary Team here at the Zoo. Through positive reinforcement training and relationship-building with the giant pandas, we can perform voluntary blood draws, ultrasounds, etc., all while the giant pandas are awake and choosing to participate. Today, Dr. Kate and one of our veterinary technicians, Carla, came over to complete a laser therapy session with Idgie. We had to walk through the giant panda building after we were done, so they both got the chance to stop by and say hello to Yang Yang while he waited for his dayroom to be cleaned. We regularly have the Veterinary Team come up just to see the pandas and spend time with them, so when it comes time for procedures the pandas recognize them as familiar and safe faces. When Dr. Kate walks in, Yang Yang always perks right up, comes over to the mesh to see her, and is very content as she feeds him leafeater biscuits or produce. Through his body language (ear posturing, body position, and eye orientation), we’ve seen time and time again that he has a positive association with Dr. Kate and enjoys seeing her. It makes us happy that he has such a great relationship with one of his vets, and we know Dr. Kate loves it as well.
Danica W.
Keeper II, Mammals

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