Panda Updates – Wednesday, March 31
As you’ve likely read in our recent panda updates, March marked breeding season for the giant pandas. Even though Lun Lun and Yang Yang are not breeding, we’ve still seen many natural behavioral changes. One change that is really interesting to me is that Lun Lun has become incredibly vocal! Usually Yang Yang is the only one who bleats for attention, but lately Lun Lun has been bleating all day long. We are used to Yang Yang’s vocalizations, so it is fascinating to hear the difference in tenor between the two individuals. Hers are a little quieter, and there’s a distinctive change in tone between their two “voices” that I can’t quite describe. However, the pandas could probably tell you all about it! In the wild, bleating is used to let other giant pandas know you’re nearby and perhaps ready to mate. In a study, researchers discovered that giant pandas can recognize another panda’s individual bleat at about 20 meters away, and at 10 meters they can use that bleat to determine the sex of the other panda!
Citation: Charlton, B.D., Owen, M.A., Keating, J.L. et al. Sound transmission in a bamboo forest and its implications for information transfer in giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) bleats. Sci Rep 8, 12754 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-31155-5
Keeper III, Mammals