Panda Updates – Wednesday, November 29
Many of you have been wondering if we have started training the cubs yet. Well, we aren’t asking for some of the more advanced behaviors that Lun Lun and Yang Yang know, but we have started on some of the smaller and easier behaviors to get the girls used to the concept of training with their care team. One of the most important behaviors many of the animals here at the Zoo know is to “shift” when asked. When we say “shift”, we mean moving an animal from one secured area to another. This behavior is important because it allows us to clean habitats safely, and if an emergency ever occurred we could move the animal quickly and reliably.
All of the training at the Zoo is positive reinforcement-based, so if the animals don’t feel like participating, that is okay and we can just try again later. Ya Lun and Xi Lun, however, have quickly learned that when they shift outside we reward them with some of their daily leafeater biscuits. They have gotten better each day at coming outside and vacuuming up their rewards in the outdoor habitat. Lun Lun has also caught on, and will usually take a quick break from her morning bamboo to see if she can sneak up a few leafeater biscuits before the girls find them.
Swing Keeper I, Mammals