Panda Updates – Friday, October 20
The giant pandas spending more time in their outdoor habitats presents many more opportunities than just the pandas getting to spend time outside. Their outdoor habitats have fun places to hide enrichment, scatter their leafeater biscuits, and they can enjoy the crisp fall air. For keepers, it means we can do more cleaning projects inside without disrupting the bears’ afternoon naps, and we can do some of their daily training outside. Today was the first day I have gotten to do a training session with Yang Yang in the outside habitats. There is a mesh panel between Habitat 1 and Habitat 2 where the pandas can participate in training sessions if they choose. It was also enriching for Yang Yang because he hasn’t trained much in that area since last winter. While training in a different setting, you have to be mindful of asking for behaviors that the animal is still capable of completing in that new setting. Apparently, you also have to be mindful of a certain panda getting a little too cozy when you give him more than one biscuit.
Swing Keeper I, Mammals
(photo by Jen W.)