Use Current Events to Learn Chinese
What does the Giant Panda Say?
Researchers of a panda breeding center in Southwest China's Sichuan province have decoded 13 different kinds of giant panda vocalizations and found that the results are quite interesting.
Date of Publication 06-Nov-2015
Human beings aspire to own a special ability to understand the language of animals for a long time, so that they can communicate with all kinds of animals without obstacles.
However, this is definitely not an easy thing even to the zoologist.
Recently, there is news that scientists have been studying the language of a special animal: the language of giant pandas.
Giant panda is one of the loveliest animals in the world. It has been living for at least 8 million years on the earth; the existing giant pandas live mainly in Sichuan and Shaanxi Province in china. They are known as the "living fossil" and "China's national treasure".
Wild pandas in the world now are less than 1600, and the number of pandas in captivity in China is 375.
The China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda has been working on a panda linguistics project since 2010, and has decoded 13 different kinds of giant panda vocalizations.
Scientists first made recordings of pandas at the center, vocalizations between cubs and adults in various situations, such as when they were eating, mating, nursing, fighting and so on, said Zhang Hemin, head of the center of a panda breeding center in Southwest China's Sichuan province.
Then they collected a large amount of data on pandas' voices and activities, and analyzed the voiceprints. The results are quite interesting。
熊猫幼崽除了说出"Gee-Gee"（我饿了）, "Wow-Wow"（不开心）和"Coo-Coo" （好！）之外，几乎不会发声。
Panda cubs can barely vocalize at all except to say things like "Gee-Gee" (I'm hungry), "Wow-Wow" (Not happy!) and "Coo-Coo" (Nice!).
When they grow a little, cubs learn how to express themselves by roaring, barking, shouting, squeaking, bleating and chirping.
Adult giant pandas usually are solitary, so the only language teacher they have is their own mother.
Pandas can be as gentle as a lamb when they are "in love". Male pandas baa all the time when they are wooing their lovers. The females respond with constant tweeting if they feel the same.
"If a panda mother keeps tweeting like a bird, she may be anxious about her babies. She barks loudly when a stranger comes near," Zhang said.
The barking can be interpreted as "getting out of my place", according to the researcher.
"Our researchers were so confused when we began the project that they wondered if they were studying a panda, a bird, a dog, or a sheep," Zhang said.
The center plans to continue the study. "If we can understand their language, it will help us protect the animal, especially in the wild," he said.
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