Wild pandas are very rare and live in impenetrable forests, so very little information is known about them.
Vanessa Hull of Michigan State University and her colleagues in 2010 and 2011 were given permission to attach GPS tracking collars to five pandas in the Wolong National Nature Reserve in China.
These collars send information every four hours about the position of the panda and up to four years the collar was sending information.
Hull says, “Sometimes the pandas were within 10 or 20 metres of each other, which suggests the pandas were in direct interaction.”
This was in autumn and pandas mate in spring, so this was not due to mating behavior.
The home ranges overlapped and sometimes the two pandas even spent several week together.
Stuart Pimm of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina says, “Pandas seem to be quite happy to have other pandas nearby.”
So this may be social behavior of the panda or the panda are not concerned if there is another panda close by.
The pandas are not defending their territories, and they rotated between several areas where they find their source of food, bamboo.
Hull said, “They kind of eat their way out of the bamboo, and when it’s depleted they move on.”
Hull added, “We hope the Chinese government sees the value of doing this kind of study and encourages more of it in the future.”