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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Understanding Circadian and Circannual Behavioral Cycles of Captive Giant Pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) Can Help to Promote Good Welfare
Author(s): Gandia, Kristine M.
Herrelko, Elizabeth S.
Kessler, Sharon E.
Buchanan-Smith, Hannah M.
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Keywords: General Veterinary
Animal Science and Zoology
Issue Date: 25-Jul-2023
Date Deposited: 29-Aug-2023
Citation: Gandia KM, Herrelko ES, Kessler SE & Buchanan-Smith HM (2023) Understanding Circadian and Circannual Behavioral Cycles of Captive Giant Pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) Can Help to Promote Good Welfare. <i>Animals</i>, 13 (15), Art. No.: 2401.
Abstract: Circadian and circannual cycles of behavior regulate many aspects of welfare including metabolism, breeding, and behavioral interactions. In this study, we aim to demonstrate how systematically determining circadian and circannual cycles can provide insight into animals’ needs and be part of an evidence-based approach to welfare assessment. We measured and analyzed the observational behavioral data of 13 zoo-housed giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), across life stages and between sexes, each month for one year using live camera footage from six zoos across the world. Our results indicate that life stage was associated with changes in overall activity, feeding, locomotion, and pacing, and that sex influenced scent anointing and anogenital rubbing. Overall, the circadian rhythms showed three peaks of activity, including a nocturnal peak, as seen in wild giant pandas. We also found associations between sexual-related, stereotypical/abnormal, and feeding behavior, which are possibly linked to the timing of migration of wild pandas, and elucidated the relationship between a mother and cub, finding that they concentrate maternal behaviors to mainly after closing hours. Understanding these cycle patterns can aid animal care staff in predicting changing needs throughout the day, year, and life cycle and preemptively provide for those needs to best avoid welfare concerns.
DOI Link: 10.3390/ani13152401
Rights: © 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
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