Mar 23, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

Scientists 'Decoded' Panda Language, Hope To Protect This Critically Endangered Species

Nov 10, 2015 04:47 AM EST

Chinese scientists claimed that they have decoded the meaning of 13 various panda vocalizations, including the noises they make during courting. Researchers found that panda "language" uses specific sounds to indicate what they are feeling, for example, hungry or sad.

As per the state Xinhua news agency, the five-year research was conducted at a conservation center in the southwestern Sichuan province. They found that when pandas court, males sound "baa," like those of the sheep, and female pandas respond with a chirping sound if interested. Sounds like "wow-wow" mean they are unhappy and baby pandas' "gee-gee" implies they need food.

The head of the China Conservation and Research Centre for Giant Panda Zhang Hemin said "Trust me - our researchers were so confused when we began the project, they wondered if they were studying a panda, a bird, a dog, or a sheep." To study their means of communication, researchers recorded the sounds while they are eating, fighting and nursing.

The scientists expressed their desire to create a "panda translator" through the use of a voice recognition technology, but no further details were given yet. "If we can understand their language, it will help us protect the animal, especially in the wild," Hemin said. "Adult giant pandas usually are solitary, so the only language teacher they have is their own mother."

With these data at hand, researchers were aiming to use these to better understand how to protect this critically endangered species. As per recent reports, it is believed that there are only less than 2000 pandas living in the wild and they are only found in China, and some 300 living in captivity and conservation centers around the globe. Despite efforts of saving its kind, they are still from under threat of extinction because of fertility problems and destruction of their natural habitat. 

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