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

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Next Shark:

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.

Get spirited away in China’s Ghibli-esque tourist complex

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RocketNews 24:

Studio Ghibli’s acclaimed film Spirited Away is beloved around the world for its touching story and beautiful animation, and the whimsical setting has a real-life counterpart. Jiufen, a mountainous area of New Taipei City in Taiwan is said to be where creator Hayao Miyazaki drew a lot of his inspiration for the film, and many tourists visit the area to feel like they’re stepping into the magical world of Spirited Away. But it turns out there’s also somewhere similar in China! Check out these photos and videos of the incredible place.

In Sichuan province, the area famed for its pandas and delicious mapo tofu, is a place called Hongyadon situated in the heart of the city of Chongqing at the point where the Yangtze River and Jialing River meet. There you’ll find a tall, towering structure accessed by a bridge that looks just like a Japanese castle. It looks like something copied straight out of a fantasy movie, but it’s actually a traditional style of building from an area steeped in 2,300 years of history.

This particular place was reopened as a commercial and tourist facility in 2006 and has become a centre for shopping and sightseeing, and has recently become more popular after the news that it looked just like Spirited Away started circulating.

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And it does look just like the bath house from Miyazaki’s masterpiece, bridge and all. You’d almost expect No-Face to welcome you at the door! Inside the sprawling, 11-story complex it’s like a labyrinth filled with hotels, bars, and cafes. Judging from the photos it even seems like there’s a Starbucks and a Subway somewhere in there. The chaotic design that looks as though everything has been stacked willy-nilly on top of each other adds to its charm and the orange glow when its lit up at night is so beautiful and welcoming you feel positively drawn to it.

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