Giant Panda’s enjoy the company of other bears, according to a recent study co-authored by Jindong Zhang. The study evaluated a group of panda bears, which were evaluated and tracked successfully after they were connected to GPS trackers. Interestingly, the panda bears who were previously thought to be reclusive creatures – are actually significantly more group-oriented than any research previously has shown.
That’s surprising because what little research has existed to this point on the animals has shown the opposite. They tend to be anti-social, ornery and fail to play well with others. That though, simply does not appear to be the case any more. In fact, Stuart Pimm of Duke University, who is a biologist at the school said, “Pandas seem to be quite happy to have other pandas nearby. They’re not charging around defending mutually exclusive territories.”
Panda bears actually appear to be significantly more social than any previous research has suggested to date, and that’s something pretty remarkable given the fact that they are amongst the rarest bears on the planet to come across, much less observe. The opportunity this presents for scientists, biologists, and panda bear enthusiasts alike to understand is that panda bears are still genuinely one of the most misunderstood creatures on Earth.
So little is actually known about them, that studies like this teach us some, but reveal just how little is actually known about a group of animals that are really as close to a blank slate as exists in the well-known science community. Co-author Vanessa Hull said of the study that, “Sometimes the pandas were within 10 or 20 metres of each other, which suggests the pandas were in direct interaction.”
These interactions are something that scientists previously thought were a rarity, if they ever happened at all. Which made many individuals wonder where the animals stood with each other – as they obviously didn’t take to outsiders well. This study though should spur a lot more research on panda bears and what their roles are within their groups are. This is a matter of better understanding animals that previously have been given little credit when it comes to social order or social maintenance, but now it would appear that scientists have a whole new reason to start pushing forward to understand panda bears a little better.