Ya’an has a reputation for being the rainiest city in China. Even though I have only been here a short time, I am willing to say that this reputation is very true! The Bifengxia panda base is just up the mountainside from Ya’an and tends to get more rain than Ya’an. To everyone’s surprise, the sun came out a few days ago, and it happened to coincide with Mei Sheng getting moved to his new exhibit.
There have been massive amounts of construction all over the panda base, and for those of you that have visited Bifengxia, they have built six beautiful, large enclosures up on Leopard Mountain. Mei Sheng was extremely happy to explore his new exhibit. There are tons of tall trees for him to climb and sleep in. On the mornings I have visited Mei Sheng, I have found his keeper outside the exhibit trying to call him down from the tree he has spent the night in.
One of the projects I have been working on here in China involves Mei Sheng. The goal of the project has been to collect audio recordings of the male giant panda bleat, along with fecal samples from that day. We will then look at the levels of testosterone in the fecal samples and see if there is a correlation with the bleat recorded on that day. Mei Sheng is the youngest male in the study, helping to provide a wide range of ages.
The data collection for this project has been very successful, and as of this morning I have everything I need to bring back to the U.S. for analysis.