Well what di you expect?
Elation as giant pandas mate for the first time
Bangkok POst: SUBIN KHUENKAEW
Female giant panda Lin Hui, left, and Xuang Xuang mate for the first time at Chiang Mai Zoo yesterday. There are high hopes the two will produce offspring, although successful breeding of giant pandas in captivity is normally carried out via artificial insemination, according to Chinese experts. — SUBIN KHUENKAEW
Chiang Mai - After arriving from China more than two years ago, giant pandas Xuang Xuang and Lin Hui yesterday delighted Chiang Mai Zoo officials and hordes of visitors who witnessed their first mating. On Sunday, staff noticed the zoo's most famous residents had begun to engage in mock wrestling bouts. Later examinations by veterinarians confirmed they were ready to mate. News of the pandas' impending close encounter spread, and visitors began to arrive at the zoo in large numbers. Zoo director Tanapat Pongpamorn said a special observation team was set up immediately.
"We mobilised both veterinarians and experts to keep a round-the-clock vigil, and about 2pm today [Tuesday] we saw Xuang Xuang and Lin Hui mate for the first time."Signs of the impending mating began showing clearly yesterday morning when they took turns sniffing each other. Lin Hui, the female, was particularly explicit in her overtures as she kept walking by Xuang Xuang and turning her rear toward him. But it seemed the male panda was not in the mood in the morning as he kept pushing her away with his paws.
This went on for a few hours to the frustration of zoo officials who attributed the male panda's indifference to his inexperience. But the moment of truth finally arrived. Suddenly, Xuang Xuang seemed to understand what he was supposed to do. He ceased his resistance, sat and leaned backward while spreading his legs. Lin Hui then moved backward and sat on top of him. There was some movement and after awhile Lin Hui let out a humming noise, but Xuang Xuang showed little reaction. After a few minutes, the two parted, ending their first romantic encounter.
Mr Tanapat said the mating ritual was expected to continue for the next two or three days after which the two pandas will be under close observation for signs of reproductive success.
The zoo director said a pregnant giant panda usually has a gestation period of about four or five months. Mating takes place only once a year.
Xuang Xuang, now five years and three months old, and Lin Hui, four years and five months, arrived at Chiang Mai Zoo on Oct 12, 2003, on loan for 10 years from China. Since their arrival, the giant pandas have been a magnet, attracting a large number of visitors to the zoo to see the rare animals in the flesh.
The zoo organised a wedding ceremony for its two celebrities on Nov 9, 2005, to mark its 28th anniversary.
"The pandas' mating is great news for Chiang Mai and Thai people," the zoo director said. "And since the Chinese New Year is approaching, we now have to prepare for the flood of visitors who will arrive to give the pandas support during the Chinese holidays."