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Ocean Park Concludes Annual Giant Panda Breeding Season Giant Panda Adventure Re-opens

2011-03-21

(21 Mar 2011 – Hong Kong) Ocean Park concluded this year’s giant panda breeding season on Sunday on a high note, as Ying Ying and Le Le responded well to each other and resulted in multiple natural mating attempts. Since Friday afternoon, Ying Ying and Le Le have been put together three times for natural mating opportunities. While close interactions have been observed from the pair, no obvious mating has resulted from the attempts. As such, artificial insemination has subsequently been conducted twice on Ying Ying with Le Le’s semen to enhance her chance of pregnancy. The Giant Panda Adventure exhibit was reopened to the public on Sunday afternoon.

Ms. Suzanne Gendron, Executive Director of Zoological Operations and Education, said, “We are pleased to see Ying Ying and Le Le responding so well to each other during their first mating season. Since yesterday, the peak of Ying Ying’s estrous cycle is over, and Ying Ying has started to display fewer estrous behaviors such as bleating. In order to help Ying Ying and Le Le recover their strength from the busy events over the past few days, we will provide a larger variety and amount of nutritious food such as bamboo shoots for them.”

She added, “Over the next few months, we will continue to closely monitor Ying Ying’s body conditions. We expect to observe signs of pregnancy, even though it may be pseudo-pregnancy, as early as in July, which may include fluctuations in hormonal levels and behavioral changes such as decreased food intake. Meanwhile, we will send our staff to Yaan panda centre again to receive training for caring for panda cub. Closer to the birth period, we will invite Wolong experts to the Park again to share information and to provide on-site assistance. ”

The first mating season of young giant pandas usually yields a success rate of only 30-50%. The pregnancy process can also be quite unpredictable, as the pregnancy duration can range anywhere from 70 to 327 days, and false pregnancies are often observed. Given the small size of the fetus, which is in average of 120g in weight at birth, a true pregnancy usually cannot be confirmed by ultrasound until 2 weeks before birth.

We will continue to update the public on the latest developments of Ying Ying as information becomes available.