Article

Growth and development of giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) cubs at Beijing Zoo

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Abstract

We studied the postnatal body weight gain and development of 11 male and nine female giant panda Ailuropoda melanoleuca cubs born at Beijing Zoo from 1985 to 1998. Growth rates of the cubs appeared to be sexually dimorphic from the fourth month after birth; the male grew slightly faster than the female cubs. Growth rates between artificially fed and naturally fed cubs were significantly different from the fourth month after birth. The growth rate of the artificially fed cubs was slightly higher than that of the cubs fed by their mothers, indicating that the substitute milk satisfied the nutrient needs of the cubs. The body length of the cubs increased rapidly after birth; 8-month-old cubs were three times longer than newborn cubs. Chest circumferences of 8-month-old cubs also increased to twice that of newborn cubs. Tail length relative to body length was reduced from 14.9% at birth to about 8.6% in 8-month-old cubs. Cubs started to grow teeth when they were 3 months old. By the age of 1 year, the cubs had fully grown deciduous teeth. The teeth formula of one 1-year-old cub was 2·1·3·0/2·1·3·0=24. We recorded the changes in fur colour, development of the sense organs and limbs of the giant panda cubs. Finally, we compared the body weight and life-history parameters of giant pandas with those of bears and raccoons and discussed the management regime for the care of captive-born giant panda cubs.

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... The giant panda is also known for their smallest neonate-maternal weight ratio (1/900). Although the adult panda could grow to 150 cm in length and 160 kg in weight, the neonates of giant panda has a body length only around 15 cm and highest weight of no more than 250 g (Zhu et al. 2001), and they are also extremely underdeveloped -they have minimal motor ability, their eyes are not open, and they have no fur to keep themselves warm (Peng et al. 2001). They need their mother's care for at least three months before they can leave the den by themselves (Lu et al. 1994). ...
... Therefore, early parental care, especially feeding with milk, is critical to the survival of giant panda cubs, whether in captivity or in the wild (Ma et al. 2017). Giant panda cubs have been the subject of many studies, addressing topics such as their development and growth (Peng et al. 2001, Zhu et al. 2001, Che et al. 2015, milk nutrition (Liu et al. 2003, Nakamura et al. 2003, Zhang et al. 2016b, mother-infant interactions (Lu et al. 1994, Zhu et al. 2001, Snyder et al. 2003 and vocal communication (Stoeger et al. 2012, Baotic et al. 2014. However, only a few studies Rapid milk intake of captive giant panda cubs during the early growth stages have addressed the amount of early milk intake and its effects on the growth rate of the cubs (Huang et al. 2004(Huang et al. , 2011. ...
... The results of the present study showed that the giant panda cubs rapidly increased their milk intake during the first 10 days in order to quickly increase their body weight, which corresponds to the idea that the early stages of cub development are critical for their survival (Lindström 1999). For bears and giant panda, the body development of a newborn is nearly at the foetal stage, which means that they do not have basic survival skills such as keeping warm and defecation, and they are also vulnerable to diseases due to their undeveloped immune systems (Ramsay & Stirling 1988, Peng et al. 2001. In these cases, maternal assistance is highly necessary (Snyder et al. 2003). ...
Article
Survival, especially the youth, is critical for the reproduction of a species. Giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) cubs are not well developed and are vulnerable at birth, and they have developed many survival strategy to assist with survival until adulthood, including rapid growth of their young. By analysing the changes in the daily milk intake and weight gain during the early stages of cub growth for 11 years (2004–2014) over 42 healthy giant panda cubs, we found that milk intake by the cubs increased rapidly during the first 10 days. After 10 days, the daily milk intake decreased gradually and stabilized beginning at 35 days. In addition, the cubs with lower birth weight exhibited higher daily milk intake, while those with higher birth weight consumed less milk per unit of body weight. This study explored the characteristics of daily milk intake during the early growth stage of giant panda cubs, offering insight into adaptations strategy of newborns in this species and providing valuable information for artificial rearing to improve the survival rate of captive panda cubs.
... Giant panda neonates are the most altricial of all eutherian mammals having the smallest neonate-maternal weight ratio (1/900). For several weeks they are blind and furless without the ability to eliminate waste on their own [9,12]. ...
... Due to the hands-off management at the Vienna zoo the twins were not measured at birth but appeared very similar in body weight and size proportions as soon as they could have been observed via camera (personal observation). First measurements were performed 80 days after parturition demonstrating only minor differences in body weight of the twins (4.26 and 3.97 kg) and correspond to other juvenile measurements at this age [12,20]. Contrary to sex differences reported from Bejing Zoo [12] the female cub in the Vienna Zoo was and remained slightly heavier than its male twin. ...
... First measurements were performed 80 days after parturition demonstrating only minor differences in body weight of the twins (4.26 and 3.97 kg) and correspond to other juvenile measurements at this age [12,20]. Contrary to sex differences reported from Bejing Zoo [12] the female cub in the Vienna Zoo was and remained slightly heavier than its male twin. ...
Article
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The giant pandas’ (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) reproductive strategy is unique among mammals. Yet there are characteristics of giant panda behaviour we do not fully understand. Probably one of the least understood is the assumption that in captivity virtually all giant panda females rear only one cub when twins are born and abandon the other if given the chance. So far, only two females have raised twins simultaneously, but just with intensive human assistance. This case-study marks the first successful rearing of giant panda twins in captivity entirely by the mother. Using video data for detailed behavioural observations, we provide the first behavioural assessment of a giant panda female raising two cubs simultaneously without direct human assistance or disturbance. We compared the maternal behaviour during the denning period of twin cubs raised in 2016 with two singleton cubs born 2007 and 2010. YANG YANG, the dam, rested less and interacted more with the twins than with the singletons in the first month postpartum and invested a greater part of her daily time budget on rearing the twins. We discuss potential favourable factors for the autonomous twin-rearing of a female giant panda, which could serve as a model for similar efforts elsewhere.
... Some published data are available on giant panda maternal behavior and infant development in the wild (Lu et al., 1994;Zhu et al., 2001), and more is available for captive pandas (Celma-Villares, Garcia del Campo, Greenwood, Monsalve Torraca, & Taylor, 1985;Fei et al., 1994;Peng et al., 2001;Schaller et al., 1985;Tang et al., 1994;Tellez Giron & Gomez Llate, 1990;Zhang et al., 1996Zhang et al., , 2000. Lu et al. (1994) studied four wild giant panda mothers and their six cubs and found that one female fasted for several days after giving birth (i.e., 9 days one year and 25 days another year). ...
... They found that five mother-reared cubs gained weight and increased in length more quickly than one partially hand-reared cub and one completely hand-reared cub. Peng et al. (2001) reported growth rates of 20 captive-born cubs through the first 12 months of life and provided some descriptive information about cub behavior. They found that male cubs began to gain weight more rapidly than females at 4 months of age. ...
Article
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Mother-reared (MR) and peer-reared (PR) captive giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) cubs were compared to evaluate the effects of early removal from mother on behavioral development. Males and females and twins and singletons were compared to assess the effects of social setting on behavioral development. Subjects included 2 PR females, 3 MR females, 3 MR males, and 3 mothers. MR cubs spent more time manipulating bamboo and fell more often than PR cubs. PR cubs spent more time inactive. Male cubs directed more playful behavior at their mothers. Twins spent more time play fighting with their mothers than with their siblings. The results suggest that peer-rearing does not provide young pandas with the same level of social stimulation as mother-rearing.
... In this study, the maximum growth rate of giant panda cubs (the inflection point) during the early lactation stage was 74.29 g/d. During the fastest growing period of the early lactation stage (Peng et al., 2001), artificial supplementation of breast milk is essential for improving the survival rate during weaning, and will benefit later growth and development. ...
... Tail length does not change significantly during this time period, which suggests that tail growth does not contribute to or is not associated with survival of the giant panda (Peng et al., 2001). In the current study, the Chapman model was successfully fitted to body length and the chest and knee circumference. ...
Article
Giant panda cubs have a low survival rate during the newborn and early growth stages. However, the growth and developmental parameters of giant panda cubs during the early lactation stage (from birth to 6 months) are not well known. We examined the growth and development of giant panda cubs by the Chapman growth curve model and estimated the heritability of the maximum growth rate at the early lactation stage. We found that 83 giant panda cubs reached their maximum growth rate at approximately 75-120 days after birth. The body weight of cubs at 75 days was 4285.99 g. Furthermore, we estimated that the heritability of the maximum growth rate was moderate (h2 = 0.38). Our study describes the growth and development of giant panda cubs at the early lactation stage and provides valuable growth benchmarks. We anticipate that our results will be a starting point for more detailed research on increasing the survival rate of giant panda cubs. Feeding programs for giant panda cubs need further improvement.
... Females coatis and juvenile males (<2 years of age) travel in groups known as bands with up to 30 individuals and exhibit cooperative foraging, nursing, grooming, vigilance, and aggressive antipredator behavior. [6][7][8][12][13][14] ...
... Adult male coati tend to be approximately one-third heavier than females on average, whereas adult male raccoons average 17% heavier than their female conspecifics. 14 There is considerable geographic variation in adult raccoon weights, with the more northern raccoons being heavier than their southern counterparts. In addition, adult raccoon weights tend to fluctuate seasonally with an increase during autumn, peaking in January, and declining in the spring. ...
Raccoons and coatis are inquisitive members of the Procyonidae family, commonly found in zoos, treated in wildlife rehabilitation centers, and increasing in popularity as pets. Compared with other carnivores, both species have unique adaptations and behaviors associated with their omnivorous lifestyles. It is therefore important for clinicians to have an appreciation of their natural history, diet, and behavior to aid in the formulation of captive diets and feeding strategies to mitigate potential nutritional or behavioral pathologies.
... Despite recent advances in the understanding of giant panda biology in captivity (Qiu and Mainka, 1993; Peng et al., 2001b) and in the wild (Lü et al., 2001; Lindburg and Baragona, 2004), few studies have investigated trends in wild panda mortality. Furthermore, a number of recent papers have identified diseases as important threats to the conservation of wildlife (Dobson and May, 1986; May, 1988; Meffe, 1999; Daszak et al., 2000). ...
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The giant panda is a global symbol of wildlife conservation that is threatened by historic and current habitat loss. Despite a great deal of research on the physiology, reproductive biology, and diet of pandas in the wild and in captivity, there is little information on wild panda mortality. Here we integrate previously unavailable data on the mortality of wild pandas. We report on three recent phases of panda mortality: deaths due to bamboo flowering in the 1970s and 1980s, surprisingly extensive poaching in the 1980s and 1990s, and a parasitic infection over the past few years. Our analyses suggest that the current most significant threat to wild panda survival is disease due to extraintestinal migration (visceral larval migrans) by an ascarid nematode. We demonstrate that the probability of death of wild pandas being caused by this disease increased significantly between 1971 and 2005 and discuss the possible factors leading to the emergence of this disease.
... The present study, however, found significant sexual dimorphism already in the subadult bears ages 1 and younger, primarily in toothrelated traits, but furthermore in head length (CBL) as also found to a lesser degree by Derocher et al. (2005). Peng et al. (2001) found sexual dimorphism in Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) from the fourth month after birth. Unfortunately, the polar bear does not achieve its permanent dentition (excluding canines) until the age of 9-11 months (Lønø 1970;Larsen 1971), so determining sex from these traits in skull from bears younger than this will not be possible. ...
Article
Size, growth and sexual dimorphism of nine skull traits was studied in 300 East Greenland and 391 Svalbard polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Two traits were significantly larger in bears from East Greenland compared to Svalbard bears, and trait size was smaller after 1960 in five traits. For both localities and both age groups (subadult, adult), mean trait size values were higher in males than females (all: P<0.05). Gompertz growth models showed trait size increasing with age in seven traits. Depending on the trait, males reached 95% asymptotic trait size at age 3–10, females at age 2–6. The females of both localities matured at approximately the same age, whereas the Svalbard males generally matured years later than their East Greenland peers. The differences found in the present study between the two polar bear subpopulations support the notion that East Greenland and Svalbard polar bears probably should be managed as separate units.
... At the same time, propagation of giant panda is also been carried out in breeding centers and zoos. Several recent publications report an increase in natural mating and reproduction in captive pandas (Swaisgood et al., 2003;Zhang et al., 1994Zhang et al., , 1996Zhang et al., , 2004, however, it is still difficult to breed the giant panda in captivity (Hu, 1988;Lindburg et al., 1997;Peng et al., 2001aPeng et al., ,b, 2006Schaller, 1993). Thus, determining how to enhance the mating success of the giant panda in captivity is the most important problem to be solved to establish a self-sustaining giant panda population in captivity. ...
Article
We studied the impact of activity space on the reproductive behaviours of eleven healthy adult female and three adult male giant pandas with natural mating ability from the Beijing Zoo, the Lanzhou Zoo, the Chengdu Zoo and the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Center during their non-mating and mating season from November 1999 to May 2003. We contrasted the frequencies of reproductive behaviour and activities of the giant pandas that kept in different size of activity spaces during their estrous period and found that the frequencies of reproductive behaviours and other activities of the female and male giant pandas in large activity space were significantly higher than that of those when they were kept in small pens (P
... In a study on present-day Grizzly bears, Blanchard (1987) found that, taking into account both weight and different body measures, females were consistently smaller than males in any age class considered. Although the influence of sex on body size is not significant at the time of birth, it could be measured as early as 3 months of life in polar bears (Derocher and Wiig, 2002), European (Swenson et al., 2007) and Japanese brown bears (Tsubota et al., 1994) and giant panda (Peng et al., 2001). ...
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Stable isotope signature values of young mammals depend, among other things, on the equivalent values in the mother during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Skeletal remains of cave bears (Ursus spelaeus ROSENMÜLLER) of different ages were studied to investigate the influence of breastfeeding and hibernation in the isotopic signature of individuals during their growth. The results show that the mother’s special metabolism during hibernation is reflected in the values of δ15N and δ13C of newborns. From the moment of birth until adulthood, environmental factors, sex and maternal investment contribute to an increased variability in the relationship between cub size and diet type.
... Before the 1990s, low conception rates, sexual incompatibility, and high neonatal mortality impeded efforts to breed giant pandas. During that time, only 30% of captive giant pandas reproduced successfully with neonatal mortality of more than 60% (Peng et al. 2001;. To overcome the behavioral incompatibility between sexes, artificial insemination with fresh/frozen-thawed sperm was successfully developed and is now routine at Chinese breeding centers . ...
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The captive genetic management of threatened species strives to preserve genetic diversity and avoid inbreeding to ensure populations remain available, healthy and viable for future reintroduction. Determining and responding to the genetic status of captive populations is therefore paramount to these programs. Here, we genotyped 19 microsatellite loci for 240 captive giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) (~64% of the captive population) from four breeding centers, Wolong (WL), Chengdu (CD), Louguantai (LGT) and Beijing (BJ), and analyzed 655 base pairs of mitochondrial DNA control region sequence for 220 of these animals. High levels of genetic diversity and low levels of inbreeding were estimated in the breeding centers, indicating that the captive population is genetically healthy and deliberate further genetic input from wild animals is unnecessary. However, the LGT population faces a higher risk of inbreeding, and significant genetic structure was detected among breeding centers, with LGT-CD and WL-BJ clustering separately. Based on these findings, we highlight that: (i) the LGT population should be managed as an independent captive population to resemble the genetic distinctness of their Qinling Mountain origins; (ii) exchange between CD and WL should be encouraged because of similar wild founder sources; (iii) the selection of captive individuals for reintroduction should consider their geographic origin, genetic background and genetic contribution to wild populations; and (iv) combining our molecular genetic data with existing pedigree data will better guide giant panda breeding and further reduce inbreeding into the future.
... With such few cases of singleton cub rejection, it is difficult to make conclusions about whether there is a pattern in females who rejected cubs. We did not find any evidence that offspring quality (e.g., gestation length, cub birth weight) or cub vocalization and soliciting behaviors differed between AI and natural mating methods, corroborating results from (Peng et al., 2001). Therefore, it is unlikely that mothers rejected cubs that were of obvious lower quality (i.e., as measured by factors listed above), but instead, likely rejected cubs based on their uncertainty of paternal mate quality. ...
Article
Artificial insemination (AI) is a valuable tool for conservation breeding programs as it can promote reproductive success and genetic diversity in species with decreasing populations. However, females that undergo AI do not experience natural mating events, which we term, “nescient mating.” Thus, these females would not be able to assess the quality of their mate through physical, olfactory, or visual cues. Previous research has found that AI can lead to diminished breeding outcomes when compared to natural mating. In this study, we investigated whether fertilization method (natural mating versus AI) affects postpartum behaviors, such as cub rejection and maternal care in female giant pandas. We analyzed data from 202 cubs and 43 mother-cub dyads between 1996 to 2018. We did not find a difference in gestation length, cub weight, or cub survivorship between naturally mated and artificially inseminated females. Compared to naturally inseminated females, artificially mated females were significantly more likely to reject cubs (p = 0.039). Contrary to what we had predicted, maternal care and infant behaviors during the first month did not differ between natural mating and AI groups. Taken together, our results indicate that female giant pandas who experienced nescient mating may have reduced offspring investment, manifest in increased cub rejection. However, the lack of behavioral differences between AI and natural mating groups was encouraging, indicating that once a female accepted a cub to rear, maternal care was adequate to ensure cub survival. Nonetheless, we recommend that conservation breeding programs prioritize natural mating as higher rates of maternal rejection increase the facility and human time cost of cub rearing and also the chances of detrimental downstream effects on offspring adult behaviors in the giant panda. Data availability Data used in this paper are available upon reasonable request from the corresponding author.
... The respondents will be required to complete and return the questionnaire to the surveyors around each exit of this visitor attraction. The reason for choosing Beijing Zoo for sample collection is that the number of visitors is large and it is suitable for measuring the zoo visitors' perceptions of experiential quality, affective commitment, image, novelty-seeking, experiential satisfaction, and revisit intentions, as suggested by several researchers (China Highlights, 2015;Peng, Jiang, Liu, Huang, Zhang, & Wang, 2001). To ensure confidentiality, the names of study participants will not be required and the surveyors will ensure that all survey respondents' responses would remain completely confidential and anonymous. ...
... Results show that males and females are clearly distinct in dorsal, lateral and ventral views. [27] Found sexual dimorphism in Giant Panda (Ailuropodamelano leuca) from the fourth month after birth. [19] predicted hyperallometry and sexual dimorphism in black bears (Ursus americanus). ...
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The Iranian brown bear is distributed in north, west and northwest of Iran. This research was conducted to study the sexual dimorphism of Iranian brown bear in Alborz and Caucasia population using Geometric Morphometric. Sixty two skulls were studied based on species distribution in country. There was a significant difference between male and female's skull shape confirming the presence of sexual dimorphism in the skull shape of Iranian brown bear. Comparison of shape of two sexes showed the reinforcement and strength different parts in males' skull. Dimorphism can also be related to the social ecology of brown bears.
... Among carnivores, similar prolonged growth patterns in males have also been documented in sea otters (Enhydra lutris: Bodkin et al., 1993) and in polar bears (Ursus maritimus: where males reach 97% of their asymptotic body length at 6.2 years, whereas females cease to grow significantly earlier at 4.4 years-of-age. Even in the most sexually dimorphic mammals, however, SSD at birth is low (although often measurable: , and in many species dimorphism only becomes apparent during juvenile development (e.g., giant panda, Ailuropoda melanoleuca, at 4 months: Peng et al., 2001; polar bear, at the end of their first year of life: Derocher et al., 2005), with maternal investment in male offspring being typically higher than that in female offspring (Clutton-Brock et al., 1985;badgers: Dugdale et al., 2003). ...
Article
Sexual size dimorphism (SSD) is common among mammals, with males typically being larger than females, as a product of sex-specificdifferences in growth rate and growth duration. The Musteloidea, however, exhibit a hypo-allometric reduction in SSD with increasing body size (contrary to Rensch’s rule). A variety of extrinsic factors can affect juvenile growth rates and end body size, where one sex may demonstrate greater vulnerability than the other towards a specific factor, moderating patterns and degrees of SSD. Here, we analyse how male and female European badgers (Meles meles)differ in their somatic growth patterns. We compare the sex-specific growth curves across a range of somatic parameters and investigate what extrinsic (social and environmental) factors affect cub growth rates during the first 2 years of life leading to their sexual-dimorphic adult sizes. We found that average male final size of all measurements was significantly larger than those of females. Although male and female weanling cubs had similar body sizes, growth curves diverged significantly from ca. 11 months onwards due to continuous rapid growth of males versus slowing female growth. Consequently, females always concluded growth earlier than did males. In both sexes, extremities ceased to grow at an earlier age than did body length and zygomatic arch width. All badger cubs were impacted by their social environment as well as by weather conditions; however, male cubs were more sensitive to social factors, remaining smaller in social groups with more adult males present, whereas female final size was predominantly affected by weather and associated food availability. We discuss how extrinsic parameters can moderate patterns of SSD in the context of the differential equilibrium model.
... Similar prolonged growth patterns in males have also been documented in sea otters (Enhydra lutris: Bodkin et al. 1993) and in polar bears where males reach 97% of their asymptotic body length at 6.2 years, whereas females cease to grow significantly earlier at 4.4 years-of-age. Even in the most dimorphic mammals, however, SSD at birth is low (although often measurable: , and in many species dimorphism only becomes apparent during juvenile development (e.g., giant panda, Ailuropoda melanoleuca, at 4 months: Peng et al. 2001; polar bear, Ursus maritimus, at the end of their first year of life: Derocher et al. 2005), despite maternal investment in male offspring being typically higher than that in female offspring badgers: Dugdale et al. 2003). ...
Thesis
Knowledge of reproductive adaptions and physiological mechanisms are essential in wildlife conservation as they impact species survival. As markers of bodily functions, hormones mirror reproductive activity and reveal baseline information including reproductive cycles and strategies, lifetime reproductive events such as puberty and senescence, as well as responses to ecological factors, which are all profound factors of wildlife population growth. In this thesis, the reproductive biology of the European badger (Meles meles) is examined by utilising endocrinological measures with complementary somatic and ecological data. Research chapter I establishes endocinological mechanisms of the flexible delayed implantation and superfoetation mating strategy, where number of additional mating seasons varies with population density across badger geographical range. Research chapter II demonstrates that despite hormone levels and external genitalia morphology (EGM) showing similar seasonal patterns, EGM in males is a reliable indicator of reproductive status only during the mating season, while in females EGM is a less precise proxy. Research chapter III reveals that asynchronous timing in attaining minimum body size, required for sexual maturity, results in two heterochronous phenotypes (early- and late- developers) in male cubs (less evident in females), while Research chapter IV showcases the decline in sex-steroid levels and somatic condition with age, leading to a post-reproductive lifespan (PRLS), while also showing two reproductive phenotypes (high and low hormone levels) in older individuals of both sexes. Research chapter V demonstrates that sexual selection is unlikely to be the driving force for sexual size dimorphism in badgers, but social and environmental factors, as well as endocrinological mechanisms, affecting juvenile diverging growth patterns and end body sizes are likely the primary physiological process of this phenomenon. Research chapter VI illustrates that ecological changes can be reflected in hormone levels and the regulation of these changes differs between sexes, likely linked to their respective reproductive strategies. Research chapter VII establishes that urinary metabolite measurement may reliably assess endocrine function in badgers as a non-invasive technique, especially in males. Collectively, these research chapters give a comprehensive understanding of the badger’s reproductive processes and how it interacts with ecological factors.
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The information on animal weight is often an essential component of wildlife management and research. However, it may be difficult to obtain direct scale weights from the free-ranging large animals when equipment needed to weigh the animals are inadequate or unavailable. In these cases, body weight can be estimated by morphometric equation. We investigated body mass and size (16 body parts) of reintroduced Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus; ABB) and their offsprings (28 males and 24 females, age 7 months − 12 years) between 2005 and 2013. Mean body weight of adult females and males in September − December were 132.2 ± 11.8 and 166.6 ± 7.2 kg, respectively, which was higher than those in April − August (103.8 ± 5.6 and 141.7 ± 6.3 kg, respectively). We developed three predictive equations for body mass by pad width and season that can utilize the footprint size before capturing. In addition, we also developed eleven multiple regression models to predict body mass through body part measurements after capturing, and selected two best models including neck girth, chest girth, body length, season, and sex. This study is the first to develop predictive equations for body mass by simple measurements of body parts in ABB. This data will not only help to understand the relationship between the weight and body size of reintroduced bears, but by estimating the weight without a scale, it will help to make the task easier and faster and to determine the appropriate anesthetic dose in the field.
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Giant pandas are difficult to breed in captivity due to low oestrus and mating rate, high cub mortality and diseases. Thus, improving the mating success of giant pandas in captivity is an important conservation issue. After observations on eleven female and three male giant pandas from Beijing Zoo, Lanzhou Zoo, Chengdu Zoo and Giant Panda Breeding Center during their mating season in 2000~2001, we found that mate choice plays an important role in mating success. Both male and female pandas actively chose their mates. Successful copulation only occurred in those males and females that both showed high frequencies of courting behaviour towards the opposite sex. Of those cases that only a male or female showed one-sided high or low frequency of courting behaviour in the keeper-arranged panda pairs in random order, no copulation was observed. Only three out of twenty-four paired pandas successfully copulated. All three impregnated female pandas in this study bore cubs. This indicated that mating choice was one of the important factors resulting in unsuccessful copulation and failure to reproduce. We recommend that attention be paid to the mate choice in giant panda when breeding pandas in pens are paired for reproduction in the future.
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A b s t r a c t . Giant panda is difficult to breed in captivity due to low oestrus and mating rate, high cub mortality and diseases. Thus, how to improve the mating success of giant pandas in captivity is an important conservation issue. After observation on eleven female and three male giant pandas from Beijing Zoo, Lanzhou Zoo, Chengdu Zoo and Giant Panda Breeding Center during their mating season in 2000–2001, we found that mate preference and sexual selection plays an important role in the mating success in giant panda. Both male and female pandas actively chose their mates. Successful copulations only occurred in those males and females that both showed high frequencies of courting behavior to opposite sex. Of those cases that only male or female showed one-sided high or low frequency of courting behaviour in the keeper-arranged panda pairs in random order, no copulation was observed. Only three out of twenty-four paired pandas successfully copulated. All three copulated female pandas in this study bore cubs. The results show that both male and female giant pandas have to be interested in each other in order to mate, but panda managers and researchers in China historically believed that females play no role in mate choice and that males are the choosy sex. This indicated that mating choice was one of the important factors resulted in unsuccessful copulation and failure of reproduction. We recommend that attention be paid to the mate preference and sexual selection in giant panda when breeding pandas in pens are paired for reproduction in the future.
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Mother-reared (MR) and peer-reared (PR) captive giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) cubs were compared to evaluate the effects of early removal from mother on behavioral development. Males and females and twins and singletons were compared to assess the effects of social setting on behavioral development. Subjects included 2 PR females, 3 MR females, 3 MR males, and 3 mothers. MR cubs spent more time manipulating bamboo and fell more often than PR cubs. PR cubs spent more time inactive. Male cubs directed more playful behavior at their mothers. Twins spent more time play fighting with their mothers than with their siblings. The results suggest that peer-rearing does not provide young pandas with the same level of social stimulation as mother-rearing.
Chapter
INTRODUCTION While many recent advances have been made in the breeding of giant pandas ex situ, historically this species has never reproduced well in captivity. Sexual incompatibility, health problems, low fecundity and a juvenile mortality rate in excess of 70% have contributed to low reproductive success (O’Brien & Knight, 1987; O’Brien et al., 1994; Peng et al., 2001a, b). Wild- and captive-born giant pandas, particularly those captured at a young age, traditionally had difficulty producing offspring in captivity upon becoming adults (Lu & Kemf, 2001). As a result, the ex-situ giant panda population has not been self-sustaining and, until recently, its growth has relied on introducing animals captured from nature. In some cases, this included individuals that appeared ill (rescues) or cubs that were believed to be neglected or abandoned by their mothers. Later field studies, however, revealed that females often leave cubs alone for four to eight hours while foraging, and in one documented case for 52 hours (Lu et al., 1994). Recently, China has placed a general moratorium on capturing wild giant pandas for captive breeding (Lu & Kemf, 2001), a move that forces the breeding community to develop a self-sustaining population. The goal, however, is not only ensuring demographic self-sustainability but also the maintenance of genetic diversity. The deleterious effects of inbreeding are well recognised (O’Brien, 1994a; Frankham, 1995; Hedrick & Kalinowski, 2001; Frankham et al., 2002).
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We studied the impact of activity space on the estrous behaviors of 11 healthy adult female and 3 adult male giant pandas with natural mating ability from the Beijing, Lanzhou, and Chengdu Zoos, and the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Center during their non-mating and mating seasons from November of 1999 to May of 2003. We compared the frequencies of estrous behavior and activities of giant pandas that were kept in activity spaces of various sizes during their estrous period. We found that the frequency of estrous behavior and other activities of the female and male giant pandas kept in a large activity space were significantly higher than those of the pandas kept in small pens (P < 0.05). When the giant pandas were kept in small pens (< 12 m2), estrous behavior occurred less frequently. Once the captive giant pandas were released into a larger playground (> 200 m2), their estrous behaviors were expressed at higher frequencies. If the giant pandas were again confined in small pens, the frequency of their estrous behaviors would decrease. This reversibility of estrous behavior of the giant pandas proved that a small activity space suppressed the estrous behavior of giant pandas in captivity and that the elasticity of their estrous behavior was great. Therefore, providing larger activity spaces to giant pandas in captivity will enable them to fully express their behaviors, especially estrous behavior.
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Japanese black bears, Ursus thibetanus japonicus, have been classified as a vulnerable species so that data on reproduction are needed to maintain and/or extend their population. They are known to have a peculiar style of reproduction, giving birth to their neonates and raising them during denning, a period of complete fasting. In this study, we investigated the metabolic rate and milk composition of mother bears raising neonates, and the changes in body weight of the neonates under captive conditions. Seven female bears kept in dens were weighed once a month, and the amount of energy they used was calculated. From birth, cubs were also weighed and their growth rate was determined. In addition, the milk composition was analyzed to investigate its characteristics. As a result, it was found that mother bears used 34% more energy than did solitary females. There was no significant difference in the energy used for nursing whether they had single or twin cubs. On the other hand, the body weight gain of single cubs was significantly higher than that of twin cubs, suggesting that the growth of the cubs was highly affected by the suppression of mother's energy consumption during the fasting period. The milk had high fat and low sugar concentrations. This indicates that mother bears used the fat accumulated prior to denning for their main energy source when raising cubs. Considering all results together, Japanese black bears showed remarkable efficiency in the use of energy for reproduction during the fasting period.
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Recent success in breeding giant pandas in captivity has encouraged panda conservationists to believe that the ex situ population is ready to serve as a source for supporting the wild population. In this study, we used 11 microsatellite DNA markers to assess the amount and distribution of genetic variability present in the two largest captive populations (Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Sichuan Province and the China Research and Conservation Center for the Giant Panda at Wolong, Sichuan Province). The data were compared with those samples from wild pandas living in two key giant panda nature reserves (Baoxing Nature Reserve and Wanglang Nature Reserve). The results show that the captive populations have retained lower levels of allelic diversity and heterozygosity compared to isolated wild populations. However, low inbreeding coefficients indicate that captive populations are under careful genetic management. Excessive heterozygosity suggests that the two captive populations have experienced a genetic bottleneck, presumably caused by founder effects. Moreover, evidence of increased genetic divergence demonstrates restricted breeding options within facilities. Based on these results, we conclude that the genetic diversity in the captive populations is not optimal. Introduction of genetic materials from wild pandas and improved exchange of genetic materials among institutions will be necessary for the captive pandas to be representative of the wild populations.
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A milk sample from a captive giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), obtained at 13 days postpartum, contained 7.1% protein, 1.6% carbohydrate, 10.4% lipid and 0.9% ash. The ratio of casein to whey proteins was 5.0:2.1. Sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) of the whey protein fraction showed the presence of at least two major proteins other than alpha-lactalbumin and beta-lactoglobulin. SDS-PAGE and urea-gel electrophoresis showed that alphas-casein is not a major component. The proportions of triacylglycerol, cholesterol, cholesterol esters and phospholipid were 90.5, 5.3, 0.96 and 3.1%, of the total lipid, respectively. The dominant saccharide in the panda milk was Gal(alpha1-3)Gal(beta1-4)Glc (isoglobotriose). The milk contained, in addition, lesser amounts of lactose, Gal(alpha1-3)Gal(beta1-4)[Fuc(alpha1-3)]Glc (fucosyl isoglobotriose), Neu5Ac(alpha2-3)Gal(beta1-4)Glc (3'-N-acetylneuraminyl-lactose), Neu5Ac(alpha2-6)Gal(beta1-4)Glc (6'-N-acetylneuraminyl-lactose) and Neu5Ac(alpha2-3)Gal(beta1-4)[Fuc(alpha1-3)]Glc.
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The giant panda was once widely distributed in China, parts of Burma, Vietnam, and Thailand. Fossils of the giant panda and its relatives have been found at more than 40 sites in 16 provinces of China and also in north of Vietnam. With the rapid increase of human populations, the expansion of agriculture and large-scale deforestation, the habitat of the giant panda has been greatly reduced. At present, only 12,000 km2 of habitat, about 1/5 of the range of giant panda 40 years ago, remains in Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gangsu Provinces. The number of giant pandas in the field was estimated to about 1000. Breeding giant pandas in captivity is very difficult. More than 10 countries in the world obtained 42 wild giant pandas from China between 1936-1999, those pandas bred in 14 zoos, but only six of them survive at five zoos in four countries. Unluckily, only 12 males and 21 females reproduced between 1936-1998. Two hundred and twenty-six cubs were born in zoos and conservation breeding centers throughout the world during 1963-1998, but 109 died within 30 days of birth. No more than 30% of those cubs survived for more than three years in captivity. We analyzed threats to the giant panda such as poaching, habitat destruction and degradation, low reproductive ability, diseases, natural enemies, bamboo flowering and inbreeding. We also discuss conservation issues such as: habitat conservation, ex situ conservation and the field release of captive-bred giant pandas.
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To what extent are the empirical regularities implied by market microstructure theories useful in predicting the short-run behavior of stock returns? A two-equation econometric model of quote revisions and transaction returns is developed and used to identify the relative importance of different microstructure theories and to make predictions. Microstructure variables and lagged stock index futures returns have in-sample and out-of-sample predictive power based on data observed at five-minute intervals. The most striking microstructure implication of the model, confirmed by the empirical results, specifies that the expected quote return is positively related to the deviation between the transaction price and the quote midpoint while the expected transaction return is negatively related to the same variable.
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Wang, X. (1990). Advances on the study of reproduction of the giant panda. J. Sichuan Teachers Col. 11(2): 118±123. (In Chinese.)
The number change and study on the ef®ciency of arti®cially breeding of the giant panda
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Feng, W., Huang, X., Li, S., Yu, J. & Fang, S. (1997). The number change and study on the ef®ciency of arti®cially breeding of the giant panda. Sichuan Daxue Xuebao 34(64): 64±70. (In Chinese.)
Preliminary study on content of nutrition in the milk of captivity giant panda and their strategy of nursing cubs
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A breeding record of the giant panda in Beijing Zoo during 1963 to 1993
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Huang, S. (1994). A breeding record of the giant panda in Beijing Zoo during 1963 to 1993. In Minutes of the International Symposium on the production of the giant panda, Chengdu, China: 179-183. Zhang, A. & He, G. (Eds). Chengdu: Sichuan Publishing House of Science & Technology. (In Chinese.)
A study of hand-rearing of newborn giant panda
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Liu, W., Xie, Z., Liu, Z., Wang, C., Feng, Y. & Zhang, X. (1994). A study of hand-rearing of newborn giant panda. In Minutes of the International Symposium on the protection of the giant panda, Chengdu, China: 164±172. Zhang, A. & He, G. (Eds). Chengdu: Sichuan Publishing House of Science & Technology. (In Chinese.)
A preliminary study on raising up the survival rate of artificial breeding giant panda
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