It’s not every day we get to publish a picture of two pandas doing the dirty, but today is a special occasion. After two years of trying, Ouwehands Zoo has successfully convinced their two pandas that they’re ready to go all the way.
Cue fireworks, an angel chorus, and maybe an earthquake. Why is it a big deal? Well, in the words of the pandas’ caretakers, “pandas make it difficult for us to prevent them from extinction.”
That’s right – these two mammals doing it like they do on the Discovery Channel may have just experienced the miracle of reproduction and helping avoid extinction. That means possible tiny baby pandas (or as the Dutch would say, pandaatjes, even the name is adorable!) At last count, there were only 1864 giant pandas left in the world.
Geen Blue Monday in Ouwehands Dierenpark! Zaterdag 18 januari heeft namelijk de eerste paring tussen reuzenpanda’s Wu…
What was the series of events?
The zookeepers had to consult with Chinese experts after the female, Wu Wen, showed signs of fertility. Female pandas are only fertile for a few days of the year, so the zoo had to act fast. It’s a good thing they did: turns out Wu Wen was only in the mood for half a day.
Zookeepers knew this because of regular hormonal testing and watching out for some physical signs. “When she is in heat, she starts producing certain sounds, raises her tail to offer herself to a male, swells her vulva and becomes redder and starts masturbating,” explains the head of the Animals department at Ouwehands Zoo, José Kok to RTL Nieuws.
No panda porn
Luckily, male Xing Ya rose to the occasion. After years of training, involving urine being exchanged (for real), letting the pandas run in each other’s homes, and training Xing Ya to stand on his hind-legs for, um, physics, the two pandas finally met in person. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Xing Ya didn’t need much encouragement, not even requiring panda porn (yes, that’s a real thing). “Last year we did make the male hear sounds of males fighting for a female to stimulate testosterone levels,” said Kok.
Will we be seeing pandaatjes in the near future?
Sad news: we won’t know for sure for a long time. While humans have two possible results in a pregnancy test, pandas are sneaky and operate within a grey area.
“A female panda can fake a pregnancy. She then behaves like a pregnant panda, there is a change in her hormones, but she doesn’t like it,” says Mathieu Goedefroy from the Belgian zoo Pairi Daiza where a panda baby was born last year.
“You never know if a giant panda is pregnant until she gives birth.” While a pandas pregnancy lasts for three to four months, the egg only develops into a baby in the last three weeks. “That’s why baby pandas are always those pink worms,” says Goedefroy.
How excited are you that these two pandas experienced the miracle of making love? Let us know in the comments below!
Feature Image: Ouwehands Zoo/Facebook