Redstarts, other birds in Wolong, China


This 2011 video is called Pandamonium 🙂 at the Bifengxia Panda Reserve in Chengdu, China.

A 2008 video used to say about itself:

Join Animal Planet for Pandamonium, a brand new series that lets us experience the incredible lives of the giant pandas of the Wolong Panda Reserve in China.

The centre is now opening up its remarkable work to the world, giving us the chance to meet the dedicated team that works tirelessly to ensure the survival of this highly endangered species.

Pandas can have a hard time starting a family, so extraordinary efforts are being made to help them breed, using artificial insemination as well as encouraging natural mating.

Watch as tiny panda cubs are born and follow their progress. Each birth is vital to the survival of the species and often hits the headlines around the globe. Thanks to the pioneering research of their scientists, the Wolong Centre has brought 16 cubs into the world over the past year.

But what will the future hold for these unique and lovable black and white bears?

Very soon after this video was recorded, there was the catastrophic May 12, 2008 Sichuan earthquake; which hit the Wolong Panda Reserve and its surroundings particularly hard.

This video says about itself:

Wolong Earthquake Video from Pandas International

A brief but touching documentary of the damage done to the Wolong Reserve in China after the devastating earthquake of May 2008.

The panda reserve had to move to Gengda, 23 kilometers away.

This January 2013 video is called Crew travels up the long, bumpy road from Chengdu to Wolong.

Though there has been reconstruction at Wolong village, there are still ruins from the 2008 earthquake.

This is a 2007 video about the bridge at Wolong village. The bridge and the river are still there.

After arriving in Wolong from our journey from Chengdu on 7 April 2018, we walked to the bridge at 17:25.

There were rosy pipits there.

This is a 2012 video about a rosy pipit (at one point disturbed by a yellow wagtail).

Then, we saw a blue-fronted redstart.

This is a 2016 blue-fronted redstart video from Thailand.

A rufous-breasted accentor in Wolong.

This is a 2014 rufous-breasted accentor video.

This video shows a Daurian redstart male.

We saw a Daurian redstart in Wolong too.

And its relative, a white-capped water redstart.

This is a 2015 white-capped water redstart video from Thailand.

More Wolong birds; a brown-breasted bulbul.

This is a 2013 brown-breasted bulbul video from Thailand.

We walked along the pond, which used to be part of the panda sanctuary before the 2008 earthquake. Now, there are many pondskaters.

Stay tuned, as there will be more: on the mountains above Wolong and their wildlife!

Cute animals, 68 minutes video


This video says about itself:

8 November 2016

Cute Animals Videos Compilation – The Cutest Red Panda, Kittens, Goslings, Red Squirrel, Birds and More

Filmed and Edited by Paul Dinning – Wildlife in Cornwall

23 baby giant pandas, video


This video from China says about itself:

23 Baby Pandas Make Debut at southwest China Breeding Base

29 sep. 2016

Twenty-three giant panda cubs made their public debut at a panda base in southwest China’s Chengdu City on Thursday, offering the cutest scene one can imagine.

The baby pandas, aged one to four months, were all born at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding this year.

“I think this is just about the cutest thing in the entire world. I never imagine there will be so many baby pandas in one place,” said a U.S. tourist named Aaron.

“I thought they were toys because they were lying there motionless. Then I realized they were cute baby pandas,” said Zheng Shuo, a tourist from central China’s Hunan Province.

This year, experts from the base also witnessed the birth of another four pandas overseas, raising the total number of the base’s newborn pandas to 27, a rare record since the establishment of the base.

The number of this year’s newborn pandas at the base has almost doubled that last year. Experts attribute this to the improvement in breeding technology.

“We used to mate the pandas by observing their behaviors to decide the timing for mating. But now we combine behavior observation with endocrine analysis to get more accurate timing, thus ensuring a fairly high breeding rate,” said Wu Kongju, animal management director at the base.

What’s more, among the 27 newborn pandas there are 10 pairs of twins, accounting for 74 percent of the total.

Since its establishment nearly 30 years ago, the base has bred 176 giant pandas, the world’s largest artificially-bred giant panda population.

Read more here.

Learning giant panda language in China


This video says about itself:

Giant panda bears in the forest – David AttenboroughBBC wildlife

4 April 2008

Giant panda bears are the only known bear to be active during the winter months. See rare footage of them in the wild with the help of spy-cam.

From Tech Times:

Scientists In China Decode ‘Language’ Of Giant Panda

By Katherine Derla

November 7, 1:12 AM

Chinese scientists who studied the language of giant pandas at a conservation center in the Sichuan province were able to decipher 13 different vocalizations. Researchers found that male giant pandas make ‘baa’ sounds like a sheep when wooing mate. The female giant pandas then respond by making bird-like sounds (chirping) when they’re interested.

Baby pandas (cubs) make ‘wow-wow’ sounds when they’re sad. When they’re hungry, the make ‘gee-gee’ sounds to prompt their mothers into action. Cubs also say ‘coo-coo’ which translate to ‘nice’ in human language.

The research team recorded the giant pandas‘ vocalizations in various scenarios which included nursing the cubs, fighting and eating to analyze the voiceprints.

“Trust me – our researchers were so confused when we began the project, they wondered if they were studying a panda, a bird, a dog, or a sheep,” said China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda head Zhang Hemin, who lead the study. The research team has been analyzing panda linguistics since 2010.

Panda cubs learn to bark, shout, chirp, and squeak to express what they want. The researchers found that adult giant pandas are typically unsocial animals, making their mothers the only language teacher they ever had. When a mother panda won’t stop making bird-like sounds (chirping), she could be worried about her cubs. Like a dog, she barks when a stranger goes near her babies. In general, barking can be translated as “get out of my place.”

Understanding how giant pandas communicate can be valuable in their conservation, especially in their natural habitat in the wild. Findings coupled with conservation efforts will benefit future generations. Looking forward, the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda is looking into the creation of a “panda translator” using a voice-recognition software.

In the ocean, bottlenose dolphins and calves whistle to call each other when they’re out of visual contact: Mom calls Junior using his signature whistle, and he echoes it back in acknowledgement. In the Venezuelan jungle, when green-rumped parrotlets and their offspring get separated, they do the same thing as the dolphins: here.

China’s reforestation efforts have led to an increase in tree cover by 32 percent but the increase mostly comes from people turning former croplands into tree plantations with only one type of tree, which is of little value to wildlife. Likewise, native forests actually decreased by 6 percent because people continued to clear native forests to make way for tree plantations: here.

Giant panda news update


This video is about the lives of Giant Pandas.

From Associated Press today:

China’s latest survey finds increase in wild giant pandas

BEIJING — Wild giant pandas in China are doing well.

The latest census by China’s State Forestry Administration shows the panda population has grown by 268 to a total of 1,864 since the last survey ending in 2003.

Nearly three quarters of the pandas live in the southwestern province of Sichuan. The remaining pandas have been found in the neighboring Shaanxi and Gansu provinces.

“The rise in the population of wild giant pandas is a victory for conservation and definitely one to celebrate,” said Ginette Hemley, senior vice president of wildlife conservation for World Wildlife Fund.

Hemley credited efforts by the Chinese government for the increase. The survey shows 1,246 wild giant pandas live within nature reserves. There are 67 panda reserves in China, an increase of 27 since the last survey.

“The survey result demonstrates the effectiveness of nature reserves in boosting wild giant panda numbers,” said Xiaohai Liu, executive program director for WWF-China.

But the survey also points to economic development as a main threat to the rare animal. It says 319 hydropower stations and 1,339 kilometers (832 miles) of roads have been built in the giant panda’s habitat.

WWF said it is the first time that large-scale infrastructure projects such as mining and railroads get referenced in the survey. Traditional threats such as poaching are on the decline, WWF noted.

China began surveying its giant pandas in the 1970s. The latest census began in 2011 and took three years to complete.

The number of giant pandas in captivity grew by 211, more than double the previous survey figure, according to the census released Saturday.

Chinese giant panda conservation problems


This 2014 video is called [Giant] Panda Sighting in the Wild.

From the Conservation International Blog:

Protecting Panda Habitat Can Generate Community Income

China recently reformed its collective forest policy, allowing forest owners to grant management rights to outside enterprises. In a letter published last week in the journal Science, Li (Aster) Zhang and other CI scientists propose that “eco-compensation” would bring more income to local communities while protecting habitat for the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca).

In early spring of 2010, my colleagues Russ Mittermeier, Biao Yang and I visited Changqing National Nature Reserve, one of the famous panda protected areas in Shanxi Province. There, we saw a young male panda in the wild. He was so shy, just showing his black-and-white coat for a couple of seconds before disappearing into the dense bamboo forest in front of us.

Beloved by the world for centuries, the panda once lived across large areas of China as well as parts of Vietnam and Myanmar. However, this magnificent creature is now confined to just 21,000 square kilometers (8,100 square miles) in a few isolated mountain forests in southwest China — an area smaller than El Salvador or the state of New Hampshire.

The Chinese government has made enormous strides to conserve the giant panda, including:

  • Designating 63 panda reserves;
  • Upgrading threatened habitats by reforesting or restoring native forests, and limiting human access;
  • Increasing the number and conservation skills of forestry staff;
  • Strictly banning hunting of the species; and
  • Pioneering captive breeding techniques.

As a result of these efforts, the official count of giant pandas in the wild has increased from fewer than 1,000 in the late 1980s to nearly 1,600 today.

However, these achievements in giant panda conservation are now being jeopardized by recent tenure reform of China’s 167 million hectares (413 million acres) of collective forest as we reported in the recent issue of Science.

Under China’s current property law, the reform would enable collective forest owners to transfer the rights to their forest to outside private sector companies and timber enterprises. As a result, commercial logging, increased collection of firewood and non-timber forest products, unregulated tourism and certain types of industrial development may take place in collective forests at far higher levels than before.

These potential threats may cause deforestation, degradation or disturbance up to 345,700 hectares (more than 850,000 acres) of giant panda habitat, or 15% of what remains.

It’s true that the reform policy may benefit individual farmers through income earned by selling their collective forest for commercial use. However, other compensation approaches could pay local people as much or more while preserving these key corridors of panda habitat.

Back in July 2011, I remember discussing these issues with Russ and Biao. We were concerned about how these reforms might impact China’s panda population. The following year, Jonah Busch visited China and became involved, conducting an economic study to figure out how much “eco-compensation” funding would be needed to lease those collective forests for panda conservation.

China has spent more than US$ 100 billion on “eco-compensation” to buy back development rights from local communities in order to secure the continued provision of ecosystem services like freshwater provision and erosion prevention in Qinghai, Gansu, Inner Mongolia and some other provinces in southwest China. Under this system, communities sign long-term binding conservation agreements for forest habitat outside of existing reserves in exchange for monetary compensation from the government.

This system is already in practice in places like Kaihua in Zhejiang province, where the county government is paying landowners US$ 70 per hectare per year for 48 years to maintain 6,300 hectares (15,600 acres) of collective forest in Gutianshan National Nature Reserve.

Extending the eco-compensation program to giant panda habitat could reduce the threat that tenure reform poses to the giant panda while fulfilling the reform’s goal of increasing local economic benefits. Based on a simple model of the relationship between habitat area and giant panda population, we estimated that US$ 240 million in effective eco-compensation payments could prevent a decline in the wild giant panda population from 1,596 to 1,378. An additional US$ 2.25 billion for effective eco-compensation and habitat restoration could increase the population to 2,234 — a jump that would cause the species to be downgraded from Endangered to Vulnerable under the IUCN Red List criteria.

We hope that our letter to Science will raise more public awareness about this issue, as well as convince the Chinese government that it is possible to benefit local communities without further endangering one of the country’s most iconic species.

Li (Aster) Zhang is the technical director of CI-China.

A giant panda is believed to have faked her pregnancy in order to get better food, The Independent has reported: here.

Spanish fossil giant panda relative discovered


Bear evolution

From ScienceDaily:

A ‘Cousin’ of the Giant Panda Lived in What Is Now Zaragoza, Spain

(May 9, 2012) — A team of Spanish scientists have found a new ursid fossil species in the area of Nombrevilla in Zaragoza, Spain. Agriarctos beatrix was a small plantigrade omnivore and was genetically related to giant pandas, according to the authors of the study.

The fossil remains of a new ursid species, Agriarctos beatrix, have been discovered in the Nombrevilla 2 site in the province of Zaragoza, Spain. Researchers from Spain’s National Museum of Natural Sciences (MNCN-CSIC) and the University of Valencia suggested that this plantigrade lived during the Myocene

sic; Miocene

period some 11 million years ago.

“This bear species was small, even smaller than the Sun bear — currently the smallest bear species. It would not have weighed more than 60 kilos,” as explained by Juan Abella, researcher at the Department of Paleobiology of the MNCN-CSIC and lead author of the study, published in the journal Estudios Geológicos.

Although it is difficult to determine its physical appearance given that only pieces of dental fossils have been found, scientists believe that it would have had dark fur with white spots mainly on the chest, around the eyes and possibly close to the tail.

“This fur pattern is considered primitive for bears, such as that of the giant panda whose white spots are so big that it actually seems to be white with black spots,” states Abella.

Agriarctos beatrix, from the Ursidae family and related to giant pandas, would have lived in the forest and could have been more sessile that those bears that tend to hunt more, such as the brown or polar bears. According to researchers, the extinct bear would have escaped from other larger carnivores by climbing up trees.

The expert highlights that “its diet would have been similar to that of the sun bear or the spectacled bear that only eat vegetables and fruit and sometimes vertebrates, insects, honey and dead animals.”

The lone bear

“We know that it was a different species to those documented up until now because of its morphological differences and the size of its teeth,” confirms the scientist. “We have compared it with species of the same kind (Agriarctos) and similar kinds from the same period (Ursavus and Indarctos).”

The reasons for its extinction have yet to be determined but “the most probable cause is likely to be the opening up of the forests giving way to more open, drier spaces and the appearance of similar yet larger and more competitive species,” says Abella.

The findings now date the appearance of this group related to giant pandas some two millions years later, from 9 million years ago to 11 million years ago. They could have originated in the north-east basins of the Iberian Peninsula.

See also here.

Kung fu pandas video


This is a video from a panda park in China; where giant panda twins have a “kung fu” fight for fun.

Eats, shoots and leaves, an essay on giant pandas: here.

Giant Panda‘s Tricky Sex Lives Revealed. Females are only “in the mood” for about a day — three at the most — each year: here.

Save carnivorous mammals


This video is about wild cat species.

From the BBC:

Save ‘special’ carnivores plea

Matt Walker
Editor, Earth News

Giant otters, monk seals, walruses, spectacled bears, giant and red pandas and the odd-looking fossa are among the carnivores most in need of conserving.

That is according to the most-detailed study yet of the evolutionary history of carnivores and their relationships.

It examined 222 carnivore species including big cats, wolves, bears, seals, otters and their relatives.

It found that some species are so distinctive that special efforts should be made to ensure their survival.

Details of the research are published in the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. …

The new study supports the split of carnivores into two main evolutionary groups: dog-like carnivores called Caniforms and cat-like carnivores called Feliforms.

But it did throw up a few surprises (see Confused carnivores), which the researchers say will need further research to resolve.

As well as unpicking the relationships between carnivores, the study enabled the team to identify those species that are unusually distinct.

Among these unique carnivores are the monk seal, giant otter and sea otter, giant and red panda , spectacled bear, Liberian mongoose, otter civet, Owston’s palm civet, the fossa of Madagascar, which looks much like a dog that climbs trees, and the binturong of south-east Asia, which is also called the Asian bearcat. …

CONFUSED CARNIVORES

The new study generally supports the traditional carnivores groups. However, it also finds that:

The kinkajou [see also here] of South America is not related to raccoons as thought

The red panda may actually be most closely related to dogs and their relatives

South American jaguars are more closely related to Asian leopards and snow leopards than other big cats …

In a separate but related effort, the Zoological Society of London runs an EDGE (Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered) of Existence programme that highlights the precarious conservation status of a range of animals beyond the carnivores.

On that list is 100 of the rarest animals including the Chinese giant salamander, Bactrian camel and blue whale.

A report reveals that female giant pandas use chirp calls to inform male pandas exactly how fertile they are: here.

A Somerset wildlife charity has taken in a record number of otters this winter as higher than normal river levels have threatened their habitat: here.

Genome mapping showing that [giant] pandas may prefer a bamboo-based diet because they can’t taste meat could unlock secrets to ensuring the survival of the endangered species: here.

Giant panda genome reveals new insights into the bear’s bamboo diet: here.

California sea otters cross over to the forbidden zone”: here.

Hawaii considers strict law to halt killing of endangered monk seals: here.

Grey wolf hunt creates bitter row in US: here.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rejects Montana’s request for a wolf hunt: here.

The Saharan Conservation Trust’s ‘Saharan Carnivores project’ continues to shed new light on the amazingly diverse community of small canids and felids harboured by the Termit ecosystem of Niger. Since last August, Oxford University’s Wild-CRU researcher, Seamus Maclennan, has been capturing and collaring fennec, Rüppell’s and pale foxes to better understand their ecology so they can be properly conserved: here.

Fossas are the largest carnivores in Madagascar: here.

The ‘weird’ predatory fossa of Madagascar is threatened: here.

Risky Raccoon Roundworms Found In Pet Kinkajous: here.

Is the Ringtail a Cat? A Raccoon? Or Something Entirely Different? Here.

Raccoon dog: here.

Charismatic, vocal, unpredictable, domestic, and playful are all adjectives that aptly describe the giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis), one of the Amazon’s most spectacular big mammals. As its name suggest, this otter is the longest member of the weasel family: from tip of the nose to tail’s end the otter can measure 6 feet (1.8 meters) long. Living in closely-knit family groups, sporting a complex range of behavior, and displaying almost human-like capricious moods, the giant river otter has captured a number of researchers and conservationists’ hearts, including Dutch conservationist Jessica Groenendijk: here.

Weasels live alongside humans only in Cairo. Carolyn King from Waikato says the find proves Egyptian weasel is unique: here.

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