Ocean Park in Hong Kong is home to the panda couple, Ying Ying and Le Le. The Ocean Park Zoo has been closed to visitors since January, allowing the pandas a little privacy.
According to the zoo, these two have been attempting to mate since 2010. They have only succeeded through years of trial and learning.
Behavioral changes in the two giant pandas were noticed. Differences that are only common during mating season in spring, between March and May. The flirting started with Le Le leaving scent-markings and searching for Ying Ying’s scent while Ying Ying spends more time playing in the water.
The 14-year-old pandas were seen mating on Monday, 6 April 2020. It has taken them ten years to attempt natural mating. The chances of pregnancy through natural mating is much higher than artificial insemination. Pandas usually give birth to a single cub, but twins seem to be more common in captivity when artificial insemination is used.
Ying Ying’s behavioral and body changes will be closely monitored for signs of pregnancy. The gestation period is from 83 to 324 days, and pregnancy can only be detected 14-17 days before birth by doing an ultrasound.
They usually give birth in autumn from August to September.
It is not certain that a cub is on its way. The staff at the park are excited by the prospect of a baby. The zoo promised to share updates on Ying Ying’s journey, and if she is pregnant, it will undoubtedly be a cause for celebration.
Though pandas are often assumed to be docile, they have been known to attack humans.
Roughly about 1,864 pandas are living in the wild today. Since pandas need bamboo to survive and most of the bamboo forest has been cleared, they are no longer endangered. However, they are still considered vulnerable to extinction.
Featured image Copyright ©Ocean Park