Finally, some good news: Ying Ying and Le Le, giant panda partners of a decade who had never, until this point, mated, finally got panda-busy at a Hong Kong zoo. Pandas are well known for not doing well, having-babies-wise, in captivity. It’s become a real problem — in 2014, there were less than 2,000 giant pandas left in the wild.
Pandas struggle to mate naturally so much that some zookeepers have shown giant pandas videos of other pandas having sex, as if that might help them figure it out. Add that to the fact that female giant pandas are only fertile for one to three days out of the year, and the mating problem is compounded. Many zookeepers also resort to artificial insemination of female pandas, which is not as successful as natural mating.
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【🐼大熊貓盈盈和樂樂的好消息💕】經過多年嘅愛情長跑，盈盈同樂樂今日終於成功自然交配喇！今次係佢哋小倆口自9年前（2011年起）開始嘗試自然交配以來首次成功，公園嘅獸醫同護理團隊會繼續密切觀察佢哋嘅身體狀況同行為變化，希望會有熊貓「添丁」嘅好消息！大家留低❤️emoji，一齊祝福盈盈同樂樂可以早日迎接新家庭成員喇！ . . [🐼Good News from Giant Panda Ying Ying & Le Le💕] Ying Ying and her long-standing sweetheart Le Le succeeded in natural mating today! This is the first success since the cute couple began attempts at natural mating 9 years ago (from 2011). The Park’s veterinary and animal care teams have been closely monitoring the giant pandas’ body conditions and behavioural changes, hoping to bring wonderful pregnancy news to you all. Let’s leave a ❤️ emoji in the comment section to send your blessing to our lovable Ying Ying and Le Le! #hkoceanpark #OPLovelyAnimals #panda #海洋公園 #熊貓
But Ying Ying and Le Le were in the mood, apparently. And it might have something to do with their newfound privacy. The park, which has been shut down to visitors since January 26, has been completely empty of visitors except for the zookeepers. In any case, they appeared to both be in the mood as they practiced a typical panda mating dance. Ying Ying took to the water to play. Le Le left scent markings. Zookeepers grabbed cameras and waited for the action. You know the drill.
Zookeepers won’t know for quite some time that the pandas were successful in getting panda-pregnant. Apparently, pandas are pregnant for anywhere from 95 to 160 days and ultrasounds can’t detect panda cubs in the mom’s belly until about two weeks before they’re ready to give birth. But zookeepers may have found out something major: like most human beings, pandas might need a little bit of privacy to get busy.