Traveling in China: Our Panda Data Enters the Panda Research Data Base

IMG_0426 IMG_0343 IMG_0339Our Final day.

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.

IMG_0443 - Copy IMG_0444 - Copy IMG_0442

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.

Filed under: China, Pandas, Travel

Tags: Panda data, Panda research

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    Carolyn Boiarsky

    " I am an American," but not "Chicago born" like Augie March. Only Chicago aged. I'd like to think that if Henry Louis Gates were to investigate my geneology, he would discover in my past three women who traveled around the globe, chronicling their adventures. Sarah Kemble Knight traveled 112 miles by carriage from Boston to New York in 1704, a journey most women did not embark on alone (and men did so only with some trepidation). In fact, women were only just beginning to exercise their independence in the 1920's when Emily Kimbrough took off with her friend, Cornelia Otis Skinner, to explore Europe. But it is Auntie Mame, transforming herself from a New Yorker to the wife of an Austrian Baron and climbing the Matterhorn, whose mantra I have adopted. "LIFE IS A BANQUET...LIVE!" I began travelling in the 1960's when I traveled around western Europe between graduating from the Univiersity of Pennsylvania and my first job as a statehouse correspondent for UPI (United Press International) in Charleston, West Virginia, which was about as foreign a place as Europe was to someone who grew up in the environs of Philadelphia. Since then, I've also travelled to Kaunas, Lithuania, to teach at Vytautus Magnus University and to Sheffield, England, to present a paper at an engineering conference. I've been to the Alps and seen Auntie Mame's Matterhorn while climbing, by a series of cable cars rather than by foot, toward the peak of Mont Blanc. For the past 10 years my husband and I have been traveling to unique places: a sheep farm during lambing season in England's Lake Country, a hotel on one of the Barromeo Islands in the middle of Lake Maggiore in Northern Italy, and a cottage in Dun Quin on the Dingle Peninsula which the Irish claim is the last parish before Boston. Between excursions, I'm a professor in the Department of English at Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, Indiana,. My husband passed away recently and, Auntie Mame-style, I am in the process of transforming myself. Last year I joined a tour to Central Asia. This year I'm going to China to work with the pandas. A new adventure. Another banquet.

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