Giant pandas living in captivity suffer from mismatch of conditions with their "internal" clock

By Jurassic JennJun 21, 2024 17:35 PMAnimals
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Giant pandas living in captivity suffer
Giant pandas living in captivity suffer. Source: nationalpost.com

All animals (including pandas!) live according to an internal clock, the so-called circadian cycles, which are regulated by environmental "signals". Problems arise when the "signals" they receive in captivity begin to mismatch with those in nature.

"This," writes the SSPDaily website, "is of great importance for the physical and emotional well-being of animals living in artificial environments, especially those at risk of extinction, such as giant pandas. The lead author of the study, Christine Gandia, notes: "Animals, as well as humans, have evolved rhythms that allow them to synchronize their internal environment with the external environment. When their internal clocks are not synchronized with external cues such as light and temperature, animals perceive this as painful."

In comparison, humans experience this condition when changing time zones, and it can lead to metabolic problems and seasonal affective disorders.

Christine and her team observed 11 giant pandas in six zoos in different regions of the world for a long time. The study showed that daylight and temperature are extremely important for these animals, as their activity depends on the correspondence of these factors.

Thus, the scientists noted that giant pandas in captivity outside their natural latitude are less active, which may be due to differences in light and temperature compared to their natural environment in China. This study may have broad practical implications for improving the conditions of captive animals and will contribute to their conservation in the wild.

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