Spatial memory recall in the giant panda (ailuropoda melanoleuca)
Perdue, Bonnie Marie
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The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is an endangered species and many efforts are being made to ensure its survival, including numerous research studies. However, there has been little investigation of spatial memory in the giant panda. Spatial memory is an important mechanism for survival in the wild, allowing an animal to find and remember the location of food, mates, den sites and avoid predators. Memory assessment in non-human species typically involves the use of recognition, as opposed to recall tasks. The current study tested spatial memory recall in 1.1 giant pandas using a delayed response memory task. The design required a delayed response to a previously lighted location, with varying lengths of delay between the observation phase and the test phase. The male subject reached criterion at 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-, 6-, and 10-second delays. The female subject reached criterion at 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-, 6-, 10-, and 15-second delays. The results support the hypothesis that giant pandas have working memory recall ability for spatial location.