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Can giant pandas return to the wild?

Can giant pandas return to the wild?

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Published by jessieleong
Final year project submitted to the University of Nottingham in partial fulfillment of the requirements for BSc Animal Science
Final year project submitted to the University of Nottingham in partial fulfillment of the requirements for BSc Animal Science

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Published by: jessieleong on Jun 23, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/02/2013

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One of the aims for captive breeding is to improve the quality and quantity of
giant panda population. The international workshop in 1996 on ‘Giant Pand
Captive Management Planning’ has recognised the need for more research to
improve assisted breeding of giant pandas (Spindler et al., 2006). Since the
setting up of various giant panda captivities, the number of giant pandas has
now increased significantly (from about 30 individuals to more than 316 alive
animals in 2010). Therefore the quality of breeding has now become priority for
all existing captivities.

Another aim is to study the behavioural development of captive giant pandas.
There are evidence suggesting that male captive giant pandas are less capable
of natural mating behaviour, possibly due to the intensive breeding process that
was carried out to increase giant panda numbers and also being separated from
mother giant pandas at an earlier age than wild giant pandas. Furthermore,
there is some strange behaviour exhibited by captive giant pandas, such as head
shaking and bobbing, which is also observed in other captive species as
stereotypic behaviours.

The third aim is to study the nutrition of giant pandas. As giant pandas have a
very different diet to the common bears, it becomes important to study their
nutrition so as to provide them enough energy and nutrients. Moreover, the

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giant pandas change their diet according to the seasons as described in (Finley
et al., 2011).

5.3. Breeding Strategies

All captive giant pandas are now listed in the stud book to avoid inbreeding and
to maintain genetic diversity. The ultimate goal of captive breeding is to create a
sustainable captive population that sustains 90% of the original population’s
genetic variability for 100 years, which may serve as a source for sustaining wild
populations in the future (Shen et al., 2009).

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