Hope everyone is having a wonderful Holiday season, the New Year is just around the corner!
So, I have updated my video software, it was on sale, I guess I needed it anyway, my version was 9 and the latest is 12. Am still getting some shaking and shimming even though I used the stabilizing adjustment, so I will just have to continue to fine tune my videos with the software as I go. At least I can get the videos to render now, so I can post to YouTube and transfer here.
One of the jobs that we were assigned to help the scientist with at the Ya'an Bifengxia base on my Earthwatch trip was to spend time observing certain pandas and record their behaviors. They have developed an extensive list of well over 100 probable behaviors and the scientist are using this information to help them in becoming more familiar with how wild pandas may behave. This knowledge will help the scientist then understand how pandas interact in their environment.
Because pandas are solitary in nature and very elusive as well as living in a difficult mountainous terrain, its almost impossible to do any prolonged observations in the field.
We recorded behaviors with mother and cubs that are captive raised at the Bifengxia base and mother and cubs that are in the wild release program at the Wolong base. Our first week we spent at the BFX base. We also observed other pandas at the base for comparison. You can click on the sheet to see it more clearly.
Above is one of the sheets that lists some of the codes and a short explaination of the behavior associated with the code. We spent a couple of days with our guides helping us to understand the behaviors correctly before we actually started to document our observations. We broke up into teams of two, some observations were done just outside the caged area of the pandas, if that is where they were hanging out, or if they were out in their yards we found a good observation spot, as the adult enclosures have a concrete wall around them, but large glass windows have been set within the concrete walls that enabled us to observe. If the weather was bad, or the panda was in a location where we couldn't closely see them, we recorded their behaviors in the cam room.
We were permitted to take our cameras or video cameras with us and on occasion we captured some shots between the times we were documenting.
We were observing Su Lin, who was born at the San Diego Zoo in California and her 2 year old cub in their outdoor area on Leopard mountain. Su Lin was pretty much eating bamboo and the cub was high up in the tree probably about 40 feet up sleeping, as many cubs do. Here came Su Lin walking up the hill toward the tree where the cub was. She walked over about 20 feet away from the cub and climbed up a different tree. I had to get this on video.
I am not accustomed to this quick action recording, I generally set up with a tripod, most zoo pandas are pretty quiet with the exception of cubs, but even they are in a limited area and easy to capture. Most of the time, we were shooting photos and recording on the go. It was pretty exciting but challenging.
Tai Shan who was born at the National Zoo in D.C., is the first panda you will see in the video. No, he was not included in the observations, but we had asked to see him and the other returnee pandas and so they took us over to where they were. As you will see he was ready to crash out, but did look up when we called his name it brought back great memories from his days in D.C. Didn't see Fu Long, and our guides weren't sure of the names of the other pandas in the other enclosures that are on the video.
This is an amazing time for the scientists at the Wolong Reserve. They just completed the construction of their new wild release and limited breeding center near the town of Dujianyan. So, a thorough evaluation is taking place in how to best utilize their different bases according to their long term goals.
This Earthwatch expediton works exclusively with the scientist at the Wolong Reserve. Their research and goals may be very different from other panda bases in China. You can read more about the work being done at the Wolong Reserve on this website. CGPPRC (China Giant Panda Protection and Research Center.
This video shows Tai Shan, then Su Lin climbing the tree, a shot of the cub sound asleep, and a couple of other pandas who live with Tai in the Returnees area of the base. Stay tuned, more videos of our work with the pandas!