Panda Talk: Chinese scientists discover how pandas flirt with each other

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Chinese scientists say they have decoded 13 different giant panda vocalizations.

Researchers at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in the southwestern Sichuan Province made their findings during a five-year study that involved spectrum analysis done on recordings of the endangered species, according to the Xinhua news agency.

Among their findings were that adult male pandas baa when they are trying to woo females into mating and that adult female pandas chirp when they are interested.

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Trust me. Our researchers were so confused when we began the project that they wondered if they were studying a panda, a bird, a dog, or a sheep,” said Zhang Hemin, head of the center.

The sounds made by panda cubs were also deciphered: “gee-gee” means hunger, “coo-coo” expresses satisfaction, and “wow-wow” means displeasure.

According to the researchers, pandas are solitary and thus learn much of their language from their mothers.

If a panda mother keeps tweeting like a bird, she may be anxious about her babies. She barks loudly when a stranger comes near,” Zhang said.

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Researchers at the center, which has the world’s largest panda artificial breeding program, also hope to develop a “panda translator” that uses voice-recognition technology.

If we can understand their language, it will help us protect the animal, especially in the wild,” the researcher said.

There are currently less than 2,000 giant pandas living in the wild today, all of them in China. More than 300 are in captivity, with a majority of those kept at the center.

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1,600 Panda World Tour Coming to Hong Kong

 

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Threatened by human expansion, a limited diet and low birthrates, the giant panda has long been classified as an endangered species with estimates as low as fewer than 1,600 living in the wild. To raise awareness for this tragic circumstance, French artist Paulo Grangeon in collaboration with the WWFPMQ and creative studio AllRightsReserved, began placing 1,600 papier-mache pandas in various cities around the world including Paris, Berlin, Rome and Taipei.

This summer however, the pack will appear outside ten Hong Kong landmarks from the Hong Kong International Airport to the Giant Tian Tan Buddha statue. What’s more is that Grangeon will create four special edition pandas from recycled materials to go on display at PMQ to further promote the cause.

Be on the lookout for more images once the HK leg of the tour goes live in June.

 

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1,600 Panda World Tour Coming to Hong Kong