Awkward Panda Romance Ends Without Success


Written by Stephen Messenger

Cupid must be a misguided conservationist; he doesn’t like shooting pandas.

In recent days, keepers at the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland had been delighted to find that the two Giant Pandas in their care seemed to have a spark, igniting hopes that the endangered species pair would set about in the business of making a baby panda. But these things, shall we say, are complicated.

Suffice it to say, pandas are not the most amorous of creatures. Female pandas, in this case an 8-year-old named Tian Tian, have a window of fertility that lasts a mere 36 hours — meaning male pandas like Yang Guang, her intended, must be master romancers if they have any intention of saving their species by reproducing.

Talk about pressure.

Like a gaggle of gawking friends to a potential romantic pair in junior high school, zookeepers did their best to set the mood for Tian Tian and Yang Guang — and perhaps just as awkwardly. Although they’re usually kept apart, for the breeding season the zoo installed a special ‘love tunnel’ for the pandas (and yes, that’s what they called it) to connect their enclosures.

Unfortunately, however, after some clumsy panda flirtation the relatively inexperienced pandas parted ways the same.

Here’s zoo official Iain Valentine describing the whole sloppy affair:

“There was lots of vocalization and encouragement from our female and physical contact between the two. He mounted her several times, however full mating did not occur,” he tells the Telegraph.

Despite the failed attempt at what would likely have been an adorable copulation, and the shutting of ‘love tunnels’ for the season, Edinburgh zookeepers remain hopefull that next year things could move beyond 3rd base.

“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,” says Valentine.

I’m no expert when it comes to endangered species dating tips, but perhaps romance would be more forthcoming for pandas if they took the pursuit of love more seriously:

This post was originally published by TreeHugger.


AP Photo of Tian Tian by Scott Heppell, File


Abbe A.
Azaima A5 years ago

maybe they need a slide

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

sad.... that its even come to this is sad.. but kudos for the efforts of all involved for sure

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing this article :)

Colleen Wright
Colleen W6 years ago

Why do they keep them apart at all?

Joy Dantine
Joy Dantine6 years ago

Seriously, although, to me, this is still a critical time in history regarding panda population; we have inhibited and contributed to this end - we are not to induce indifference to insemination. Let it be known, it is still classified as rape - at this juncture for the hurdle is over. Now, let nature takes its course. We are out of the woods with panda as endangered species when so many other species are far more established on the list - just provid significant care via proper panda pad closer to or even better still - natural habitat - totally without crowds - and foreign instrumentation. Other more endangered species can use such expertise to regain same momentum provided pandas.

Ginger Hill
Past Member 6 years ago

They are not breeding because they are stressed and not in their natural environment because of human over population. Give out birth control free!

Past Member
Past Member 6 years ago

Awww, I was rooting for them. Poor things.

Stefanie D.
Stefanie Soto6 years ago

Love pandas and glad that I can see them in the zoo { if there keep accordantly} but do not get the video and the comment

ida w.
Ida Nga Sze W6 years ago

ah.. this video is totally not what this article is talking about! this was about a panda climb up the tree and it fell and it got angry with the branch. and took out on the tree branch. it has nothing to do with breeding whatsoever. i have seen this in japan 5-6 years ago.

Yvette Seargeant
Yvette Seargeant6 years ago

that was great