At the end of the day, our guides take us to a special area within the Preserve. There are trees, creating an arbor. In one area there are small yellow markers in the ground. These are the markers from all of our volunteers, Justin, our Earthwatch guide, explains. Each one is planted by a new bamboo stalk. Then each of our teams received a yellow banner and a pen to write our message on it. Fran and I wrote XX. Then we found a good soft place where we could place in the ground with our tiny new bamboo stalk.
After dinner we meet with the professor. He shows us some of the Excel graphs that he has made from our data. What we see, he explains, is the major behavior of each of our adult pandas in contrast to the others that other teams observed. Based on their analysis of this data, they will make changes in order to improve breeding. "This is how," he tells us," finally in 2005 we were able to begin to get babies."
He goes on to explain that the Center will use the data to compare with behaviors in the wild. "We need to know what behaviors will ensure that the pandas have a [good] chance to survive, he comments. Some of what they have already found includes the following:
. In captivity panda behavior is affected by tourists and the keeper.
. In captivity pandas don't spend as much time eating bamboo as they do in the wild.
. In captivity they do more pacing.