It's not just the virus. Love is in the air too. At least, that was the case with a pair of captured pandas. Ten years ago they tried a zoo in Hong Kong at Ocean Park. Finally, of course, they mated this week. This coincides with the closure of this zoo to the public due to the pandemic. Perhaps this sudden loneliness and privacy has influenced the panda's behavior. Let's say the conditions were favorable. Michael Boos, the zoo's nature conservation director, said all of the staff were excited about a potential baby panda. And all thanks to the pandas that mated after ten years.
"The chance of pregnancy after natural mating is much higher than with artificial insemination." Boos said in a statement. The mating season for panda bears lasts from March to May. That's why Ocean Park vets measured the hormone levels of Ying Ying, the woman.
Both animals are 14 years old. Panda women mature sexually at 5 years and men at 7 years. In 2015, both Ying Ying and Le Le (the man) participated in an artificial insemination program in Wolong, Sichuan. There is the largest panda reserve in China. Le Le & # 39; s sperm was used to inseminate several women. And Ying Ying got pregnant, but soon miscarried.
Reproduction is notoriously difficult for panda bears. The population in the wild is estimated at 1,800 individuals. Women ovulate only once a year in a very short time, which must be recognized quickly by men.
A 2015 study found that mutual attraction is also critical.
The study was published in Nature communication by researcher Megan Martin. It is from the PDX Wildlife Conservation Organization. He analyzed the behavior of pandas in a reserve in China. They concluded that women who are allowed to mate with their favorite partner within a group of men are twice as likely to get pregnant. That is, in agreement, but with no one.
Ocean Park vets will be closely following Ying Ying in the coming months. The pregnancy of the female panda fluctuates. The pregnancy lasts about five months on average, but can last up to ten months.
Pregnancy can only be confirmed by ultrasound between 14 and 17 days before the baby is born. There are other pointers to watch out for.
“If the pairing is successful, we will see some signs of pregnancy in June. Maybe hormonal fluctuations or behavior changes, "said Boos. He also said," It's a reason to be happy at a time when Hong Kong is plunged into a cloud of bad news. "The pandas that mated after ten years are certainly true to.