Orleans (France) (AFP)
Huan Huan, a giant panda on loan to France from Beijing since 2012, is pregnant again and could soon honor the country with her second cub, Beauval Zoo in central France announced on Tuesday.
“An ultrasound a few hours ago confirmed the presence of a panda embryo,” a spokesperson told AFP, adding that the birth could take place at the end of the month or at the beginning of the month. August.
Breeding the panda, in captivity or in the wild, is notoriously difficult because the female panda is only in heat once a year for about 48 hours.
Huan Huan and his partner Yuan Zi – Beauval’s star attractions – delighted zoo officials in March when they managed to make “contact”, as they say, eight times in a weekend.
The vets also performed artificial insemination, just to be sure.
This technique was used on Huan Huan for the birth of his first cub, Yuan Meng, in 2017, the first panda ever born in France.
Now that he has grown to his mother’s size, he is due to be sent this year to China, where around 2,000 pandas live in the wild and 500 more are in captivity.
The number of pandas around the world has rebounded since the black and white bear was declared endangered in the 1980s, thanks to efforts to protect it and its habitat.
The gestation period varies from three to five months.
© 2021 AFP