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Panda Updates – Monday, March 20

As animals get older it is important to monitor their health with different criteria in mind. Heart health is especially important to monitor. With this in mind I am hoping to train the adult giant pandas for voluntary cardiac ultrasounds, much like the primate keepers are already doing with the great apes. I know of at least one other panda who participates in cardiac ultrasounds so I know the behavior is trainable, and with the training relationship I already have established this would only require additional cooperation from Yang Yang and Lun Lun. My biggest hurdle I believe will be to have the pandas stand on all fours while eating their training rewards. Normally they sit to eat biscuits and produce so trying to convince them to stay standing will be an obstacle. After that is trained, I believe our pandas will be able to pick up the rest of the training quite easily. Hopefully in future updates I’ll be able to share some training successes! Fingers crossed!
Keeper II, Mammals

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