Behavioral and developmental consequences of early rearing experience for captive giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Snyder, Rebecca J.,Zhang, An J.,Zhang, Zhi H.,Li, Guang H.,Tian, Yu Z.,Huang, Xiang M.,Luo, Lan,Bloomsmith, Mollie A,Forthman, Debra L.,Maple, Terry L.
Journal of Comparative Psychology
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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.


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