Thursday, February 21, 2013

No Duh Part II: Animals Like Picking their Own Partners

In a discovery that should surprise exactly no one in the animal rescue world, animals prefer to choose their own mates over having them chosen for them.

Meghan Martin, left, a research associate at the Oregon Zoo, led a study which showed that female endangered Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits were more likely to breed in captivity when given the opportunity to choose their own mates. Thanks to Martin's study, which was published in Conservation Biology, not only did the rabbits reproduce, but they were successfully reintroduced back to their home in Eastern Washington. Now researchers want to use the same technique to help coax endangered pandas to breed more successfully in captivity, helping that species, too, to survive.

As Joy Gioia of St. Louis House Rabbit Society says, "Uhhhh, they could have just asked House Rabbit Society.  We've known bunnies have preferred [to choose their own] friends for years. That's why we do dates when people want a friend for their bunny.  Nice to see the research shows that, too."

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