Rare brown panda fails in first attempt at natural copulation, despite efforts

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/29 17:48:40

The 9-year-old brown giant panda Qizai walks at the Research Base for Qinling Giant Panda Breeding in Hanzhong, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province. Photo:VCG

The only artificially bred brown giant panda attempted its first natural mating, but unfortunately failed, news site chinanews.com reported on Tuesday.

The 9-year-old brown giant panda, Qizai, is youthful and healthy. To get an appealing mate for Qizai, the Research Base for Qinling Giant Panda Breeding in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province carefully chose Zhuzhu, an 18-year-old female panda, to copulate with Qizai.

Zhuzhu has given birth to four cubs in 2008, 2009, 2013 and 2017. She is an energetic panda with good genes.

The base put the two giant pandas in neighboring enclosures in late June, when Zhuzhu went into heat. They soon began interacting. Qizai often tried to touch Zhuzhu through the fence between the housings and Zhuzhu also showed interest in Qizai.

As it was the first experience of natural mating for Qizai, the two pandas tried several times but eventually failed to copulate.

The best time for a giant panda to get pregnant usually lasts one to three days every year. In order to not miss the this period for Zhuzhu to become pregnant, the base attempted artificial insemination with Qizhai's sperm, according to the report. The result is not yet known.

Qizai's semen was taken starting in 2017 for artificial breeding, but no offspring have been generated. His semen was used in artificial insemination with four female pandas at the base in 2018.

Brown giant pandas belong to the Qinling giant panda subspecies, which was recognized in 2005. The attempt of natural mating is expected to provide more reference information for further research on the rare pandas.

Global Times

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