Two pandas have successfully mated since the closure of their zoo following the coronavirus epidemic after a decade of trying.
The Hong Kong Zoo said its resident male and female giant pandas finally succeeded on Monday after “years of testing and learning.”
They’ve been trying since 2010, said Michael Boos of Ocean Park.
Download the new Independent Premium app
Share the whole story, not just the headlines
“The success of natural mating today is extremely exciting for all of us because the chances of pregnancy by natural mating are higher than by artificial insemination,” said the Executive Director of Zoological Operations and Conservation.
” We hope to announce wonderful pregnancy news to Hong Kongers this year and further contribute to the conservation of this vulnerable species. “
The zoo said it noticed Ying Ying, the female giant panda, spending more time playing in the water and Le Le, the male, leaving its scent around its habitat.
“Such behaviors are consistent with those common during the breeding season,” said Ocean Park on Monday.
“The teams closely monitored the body conditions and behavioral changes of the giant pandas and viewed it as an eastern peak this morning for a natural mating opportunity. “
The zoo – which has been temporarily closed since January due to the coronavirus outbreak – said it could start detecting signs of pregnancy as early as June.
Giant pandas are classified as a vulnerable species with an estimated population of 500 to 1,000, according to the list of threatened species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
They went from “endangered” in 2016.
The reclassification came after the Chinese government launched a conservation program to try to boost the population of giant pandas by making sure their forests had lots of bamboo.