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Ocean Park Welcomes Annual Giant Panda Breeding Season Giant Panda Adventure Temporarily Closed for Mating of Ying Ying and Le Le

2016-04-12

Ocean Park is pleased to announce that female giant panda Ying Ying and male giant panda Le Le, both 10 years old, are confirmed to be entering their sixth mating season. Starting from today, the Giant Panda Adventure will be temporarily closed to the public to minimise noises and disturbances on any mating attempts.
 
Ms Suzanne Gendron, Executive Director of Zoological Operations and Education, said, “Over the past few weeks, Ying Ying has displayed oestrous behaviours such as water play, vocalisations and restlessness. Her physical and hormonal changes, combined with Le Le’s increased frequency of sniffing Ying Ying’s ‘scent posts’, further confirmed that peak oestrus is approaching. As smell is pandas’ primary means of communication, we have been shifting their habitats and enrichment items regularly, so as to get them familiarised with the odour of each other before putting them together when peak oestrus hits, which helps smoothen the process of natural mating.”
 
Ms Gendron added, “To increase the chance of successful mating, we have been providing hind leg training for Le Le to strengthen his leg muscles. With the advantage of Ying Ying’s natural mating experience in Sichuan last season, we are hopeful that they would mate successfully. In addition to natural mating, as part of the National Giant Panda Breeding Programme, artificial insemination will also be arranged for Ying Ying during the course of the peak of her oestrus so as to increase her chances of pregnancy.”
 
The pregnancy process of giant pandas is filled with surprises and uncertainties -implantation of a fertilised egg is usually delayed, leading to the pregnancy duration to range anywhere from 70 to 324 days. While Ying Ying may display bodily changes and hormonal levels which are indicative of a pregnancy, they are not conclusive measures and false pregnancies are often observed. Pregnancy can only be confirmed during late gestation, about two weeks before birth by ultrasound scan. Even during that short period, miscarriage and reabsorption of foetus are possible.
 
Ocean Park will continue to update the public on the latest developments of Ying Ying and Le Le as information becomes available.
 
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