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Backgrounder: Panda outfits essential part of panda's training

11-05-2013 08:34 BJT

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The training regimen for Zhang Xiang started when she was 2 months old. Getting a captive-bred giant panda ready to live in the wild requires a lot of effort and a bit of imagination.

Warming up before entering the panda enclosure.It may look comical, but this is serious science.

The training regimen for Zhang Xiang started when she was 2 months old. Getting a captive-bred
giant panda ready to live in the wild requires a lot of effort and a bit of imagination.

No staff member at the center is allowed to go near the pandas without wearing these panda outfits.

The reason is simple: panda cubs grow used to those around them in their growing years and eventually lose fear of them.

If these pandas are to have any chance of survival in the wild, they should not lose their fear of humans.

"Giant pandas have a very sensitive sense of smell. They can identify if you are the enemy merely by scent. Therefore, we smear the panda outfits with panda urine and dung before we go near the animals." Huang Yan, deputy chief engineer of China Giant Panda Protection & Research Center, said.

The work paid off. In the past few weeks, Zhang Xiang and her mother didn’t overreact to staff dressed in panda suits. They got used to those who look similar to them but walk on two feet. But staff members say not all giant pandas treat them so cordially.

"We used to wear the outfits and play her mother’s voice to attract her, but she perceived the difference and stayed in the branches." Huang said.

Scientists have been doing their best with each passing year to adjust the outfit to make it more like a real adult panda.

From Wednesday, Zhang Xiang will be on her own.

The start of a new life for her and a test of the training her keepers put her through, over the past 26 months.

The training regimen for Zhang Xiang started when she was 2 months old. Getting a captive-bred
giant panda ready to live in the wild requires a lot of effort and a bit of imagination.

The training regimen for Zhang Xiang started when she was 2 months old. Getting a captive-bred
giant panda ready to live in the wild requires a lot of effort and a bit of imagination.

Editor:Zhang Rui |Source: CCTV.com

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