In the news today, Edinburgh Zoo's giant female panda has been artificially inseminated after attempts to get the UK’s only pair of the loveable endangered bears to mate naturally have failed.
Breeding season for pandas is between mid-April and May and there is a critical 36 hour window when the female can mate, made all the more difficult I would imagine by having an audience. Given that the male and female are kept in separate enclosures throughout the year and only get together for mating, the female, who is called, Tian Tian, can’t be blamed for not being totally receptive.
The male, called, Yang Guang, had been introduced to the female a couple of times during the last week but the meetings clearly didn’t go well as Tian, Tian was not ready for that kind of commitment so early in their relationship. Maybe Yang Guang should have started by taking her a bunch of bamboo to start things off gently.
The move to step in and artificially inseminate Tian, Tian was taken after the Zoo’s Panda expert, Chinese colleague Professor Wang, decided that Tian, Tain ‘displayed signs that told him she would not be conducive to mating.’ In layman’s terms, she wasn’t putting out; you really need to be an expert to see that?
If the pregnancy is successful any cubs would be born around September time. You can just imagine Yang Guang being informed that he is the father of Cubs, “What? We never did anything! I want a DNA test”. He really has had a rough deal, kept in isolation all year, given the chance to prove his Panda hood, gets rebuffed then slapped with a paternity suit.
Whatever the outcome, 500,000 visitors last year to the zoo will certainly increase should the tiny patter of panda paws be heard. Yang Guang is back in solitary confinement working on his chat up lines and wondering why that Chinese man had been messing with his Panda parts.