Lonely Panda Cheered Up with Television
And videos of her friend
Rarely are depressed patients encouraged to spend more time in front of the television, but after giant panda Sijia began exhibiting symptoms of depression, her keepers at Yunnan Wild Animal Park in Kunming, China, tried to cheer her up by installing a flat-screen TV in her habitat.
A few weeks ago, keepers noticed that Sijia had stopped eating and was acting irritably after being separated from fellow panda Meixi, who was recently sent back to Sichuan Province. (The two pandas were moved to the park after the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, but Sijia has yet to be returned to the original preserve.)
Keepers spent more time with Sijia, gave her makeshift company in the form of a stuffed panda, and tried to get her to play by installing a jungle gym in her habitat complete with a swing and parallel bars. None of those things worked. In a last-ditch effort to console the lonely panda, bamboozled keepers undertook an experiment in psychology. They couldn’t bring Meixi back, but they could show Sijia video of the two pandas playing together.
Capitalizing on nostalgia seems to have worked: After watching the video, keepers say Sijia has been in higher spirits and is moving more. Who wouldn’t be? She’s got a brand-new bachelorette pad to enjoy.