The Vienna Zoo is the only zoo in Europe where two pandas have ever produced offspring without artificial insemination. However, zookeepers didn’t have much luck this time around. Pandas Yang Yang and Yuan Yuan were not feeling the magic during the animals’ extremely short mating season — a mere two days each year.
“We have been eagerly anticipating the mating season – Pandas are loners and only ready to mate two days per year. Therefore, it is a very exciting phase. When the time came closer, the doors between the compounds were opened,” zookeeper Eveline Dungl told the Associated Press.
Pandas must familiarize themselves with one another before mating. However, even after the two pandas were allowed to interact, they didn’t seem to foster a closer relationship. You’ll notice in the clip that while the two share a habitat, each one is off doing their own thing. One lounges on a swing, while the other enjoys bamboo shoots high in the trees.
“In the beginning there was a little bit of a scuffle between Yang Yang and Yuan Yuan,” Dungl told the AP. “The two aren’t the youngest anymore. With 20 and 21 years of age, they also have different levels of experience. This year was a first approach, a first encounter. It didn’t work this year, but we will see what next year brings.”
There is hope for Yuan Yuan and Yang Yang yet. On April 7, Ocean Park Zoo in Hong Kong announced pandas Le Le and Ying Ying had mated for the first time in 10 years, crediting some much-needed privacy due to the novel coronavirus lockdown.
If you enjoyed this article, check out this unreal video of a giant panda giving birth to twins.
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