Copenhagen Zoo has decided to use a new strategy to get its panda bears to mate.
For the past four years, zoo staff have been trying to get Xing Er and Mao Sun to reproduce.
Despite their best efforts, however, no pandas were born at Frederiksberg last season. This has prompted a change in tactics.
The new strategy, already successful with the zoo’s brown bears and polar bears, places the pandas in the same enclosure earlier in the season than in previous years.
The problem with this, according to zoologist Mads Frost Bertelsen, is that pandas like a punch-up.
Since the bears are solitary animals, they can become upset if another panda disturbs their contented bamboo mouth-ring, leading to arguments between potential partners.
The theory is that at a certain point they have to stop fighting and start reproducing. Although the presence of thousands of spectators who flock every year to catch them in the act can’t exactly help.
Signs of hope
Despite their abysmal reproductive record, Mao Sun and Xing Er get along just fine. Or at least they’re not fighting yet.
They were reintroduced to each other this morning and apparently they are sitting close to each other eating bamboo, although neither seems particularly interested in the other.
According to Bertelsen, “this is the best situation we could have hoped for”.
Mating season should begin in three weeks.
Source: The Nordic Page