Panda Updates – Monday, October 21
Giant pandas are solitary animals, which means they actually prefer to be by themselves. While it might be hard for us to understand that concept, there are quite a few species at the Zoo that prefer to live alone. For example, the Sumatran tigers and red panda are solitary animals. These species of animals will only share the same space if it is breeding season. This also applies to giant pandas. In the wild, female pandas with offspring will leave them once they are capable of finding food on their own. At the Zoo, we started to wean Xi Lun and Ya Lun at around 18 months after the team started noting signs of Lun Lun no longer wanting to share space with her cubs. Weaning around that point mimics that stage in the wild. If Lun Lun was to stay in the same space with Xi Lun and Ya Lun now, there would be some type of aggression observed. Even the twins will eventually want to be separated once they hit sexual maturity (which is around 5 or 6 years old), as they start to look at each other as competition. If you read my last update on vocalizations, you might remember two in particular that are heard when Lun Lun does not want to be in close proximity to Yang Yang. These two calls are growling and moaning. The Panda Care Team has also heard these calls from Xi Lun and Ya Lun to Yang Yang when we are moving the pandas around from a den to a dayroom and vice versa.
Keeper I, Mammals