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Panda Updates – Wednesday, August 1

I haven’t been in Panda Land for quite a while, and it was great to be back and see the bears! Soon I will be transitioning over from my role as a Swing Keeper in the Mammal Department and will become one of the primary keepers in the giant panda section, so I will be spending quite a bit more time up here. Today, Senior Keeper Heather and I worked on a new training behavior for the twins. You may have read in past updates that the giant pandas know a cue we call “bamboo.” This is when we ask the pandas to go take a bite of bamboo, and if they choose to complete the behavior, they will be rewarded with a leafeater biscuit. Ya Lun and Xi Lun spend most of their time eating, so as you can imagine, we have high hopes that they will pick up this behavior quickly. We are utilizing a training technique called “capturing.” This is done by adding a verbal or visual cue to a behavior an animal is already offering (like eating bamboo) and teaching them that rewards follow if they choose to do it when asked. Like I mentioned, we are still in the early stages, but the twins should pick it up pretty quickly!
Danica W.
Swing Keeper I, Mammals

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