Close, But No Cigar
The panda breeding season is drawing to a close this year at Edinburgh Zoo, and although the
furry pair have hit it off and have a definite attraction, no full mating has been seen to
date. The pandas will have one or two final meetings later this afternoon and potentially
early this evening, however chances of the panda pair achieving a successful mating this year have
At 9am on Tuesday 3
rd April the panda cams were turned off and the indoor enclosure was lifted for Tian
Tian (Sweetie) and Yang Guang (Sunshine) to meet properly for the first time. Amidst much
excitement, most of it from the pandas, the two met. The pair then met several times over the
course of yesterday and today.
Based on a combination of hormone testing and behavioural observation over several weeks,
experts decided the time was now right for Tian Tian and Yang Guang to meet. And, although
they did not end up fully mating, the experience for the two pandas and Edinburgh Zoo has been
Iain Valentine, Director or Research & Conservation, said:
“Each time the pair met we saw a huge amount of eagerness and attraction between Tian Tian and
Yang Guang. There was lots of vocalisation and encouragement from our female and physical
contact between the two. He mounted her several times, however full mating did not
occur. Although both have bred before and have borne cubs with other pandas, they are both
still relatively inexperienced.
“At the end of the day, this is year one of a ten year conservation project here at Edinburgh
Zoo. We are hugely encouraged by how much the natural sparks flew between the two animals, as
like humans, not all male and female pandas are attracted to each other. Both were keen to
mate, but their inexperience showed.
“Baby cubs would have been a bonus this year, but we have to appreciate that the pandas have
only just arrived and have had limited time to settle.
“Overall, we remain very pleased with the outcome of the last few weeks and it has been a
fantastic trial run here at Edinburgh Zoo. As animal conservationists and scientists, we have
learnt a huge amount in such a short time about this captivating species and we look forward to the
next ten years.”
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