Females are fertile for only 24 to 36 hours in the spring
Concerned that its two pandas are late to breed, Copenhagen Zoo is implementing a new strategy to encourage their love lives, as the species are known to have difficulty reproducing, AFP reported.
The zoo in the Danish capital decided to put the pandas in the same enclosure a month earlier than usual, so that they can get used to each other before the moment of breeding, instead of quarreling noisily during the fateful period.
The zoo’s website posted a photo of the two animals staring at each other with disdain – a sign that love is not yet “in the air”.
On loan from China for 15 years, Mao Sun and Xin Er arrived in Copenhagen in the spring of 2019. Since then, all attempts to breed them have failed.
“We are trying an approach that has been successful with our polar and brown bears – to collect them now, even though Mao Sun will not be ready for love for several weeks,” explains veterinarian Mads Frost Bertelsen.
A panda’s break-up period lasts only two to three days, and zoo officials hope their new strategy will allow the animals to get to know each other again, fight and vent their frustrations before the moment of passion arrives.
“Pandas live alone and don’t like the company of others much, except for the few days a year when the female is driven away. During the first few days they are together, there can be serious clashes. We hope that the extra time that will spend together will allow them to stop fighting and focus on mating when the time is right,” says Bertelsen.
Breeding pandas is particularly difficult in captivity. Females are only fertile for 24 to 36 hours in the spring, according to the International Panda Conservation Organization.
“The problem is that they don’t really know what to do and they only have one time a year to train,” adds the vet. He adds that animals also have a problem with synchronization.
According to the organization, the panda population numbers 1,864 specimens, of which 600 live in captivity worldwide.
Source: Zoologisk Have København Instagram (@copenhagenzoo)
Illustrative Photo by Diana Silaraja: