Materials And Methods

Four captive-born, adult female giant pandas comprised the study group (Table 9.1). Each was trained to enter a squeeze chute, where modest restraint was applied. Using operant conditioning and food as positive reinforcement, each giant panda was trained to accept vaginal swabbing. Training involved focusing the animal's attention on the keeper while desensitising her to other stimuli, including manipulating the vulva and vaginal insertion of a cotton swab. In most cases, one to four weeks of training were required before the female tolerated the insertion of the swab, usually while she was in a sitting position facing the collector (Fig. 9.1). The female housed at the San Diego Zoo

Table 9.1. Study animals

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