1 Tahrcountry Musings: Sexual segregation in Giant Pandas

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sexual segregation in Giant Pandas

Different habitat preferences of male and female giant pandas
Dunwu Qi,Shanning Zhang,Zejun Zhang,Yibo Hu,Xuyu Yang,Hongjia Wang,Fuwen Wei

Article first published online: 5 JUL 2011 Journal of Zoology

DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.2011.00831.x
Now here is a surprise. According to this study male and female giant pandas prefer to use different habitats. Using a combination of field surveys and sex identification through fecal DNA, the researchers investigated gender differences in habitat use in wild giant pandas through ecological niche factor analysis modelling. 
Female pandas frequent high altitude conifer forests and mixed forests on steeper slopes, whereas males roam about more widely, researchers discovered. Females stuck to these areas as they provide den sites for birthing and dense bamboo cover in which baby pandas can hide.
The researchers say these findings should be taken into account when breeding programmes for release of giant pandas back into the wild are devised.

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