Arina transitioned me to China for about a week and we have been getting along great. She showed me around the base the second day I was here and the next day we transitioned the projects and performed a reliability test for the behavioral scoring. All behavior studies need a reliability test between observers if there will be more than one to ensure that researchers will score behaviors in a similar manner. Our scorings were above 80% similar so we met our criteria for interobserver reliability testing. Arina left on August 15th and then it was my turn to start on the personality and stereotypical behavior studies for the month of August with the remaining 10 pandas.
Yesterday I watched Tong Tong while he interacted with the plain ice block for the personality study. At first he did not have any desire to interact with the ice block but around the 27th minute he changed his mind. I watched him pick up and rub the ice block all over his body. He even sat back as if eating bamboo and bit the ice. At one time he even threw the ice to the other end of the enclosure then watched it for about 15 seconds. Eventually he gathered it up again and continued to bite and rub the ice all over his belly. This ice play lasted for about six minutes, the longest I have seen a panda interact with an object of enrichment so far. It was very entertaining and unfortunately I didn’t get video – just pictures.
However, check out how he interacted with the basketball while Arina was here: