Breeding blow as Australian panda passions run low

Sep 23, 2013

It was back to the drawing board for Australian scientists Monday after another breeding season for giant pandas failed to produce results at the Adelaide Zoo.

Wang Wang and Funi arrived in Australia on a decade-long loan from China in late 2009 and there were hopes of breeding the Southern Hemisphere's first baby pandas.

Adelaide Zoo's reproductive team was hoping it would be third time lucky for the cubless pair in 2013 after two unsuccessful earlier seasons.

But both natural mating and appeared to have failed, with no pregnancy for 7-year-old Funi as the very short annual breeding period—typically just 48-72 hours a year—drew to a close.

"Panda breeding is extremely complex, mainly due to the very small window of opportunity that occurs for breeding each year," said the zoo's senior panda keeper Simone Davey.

"We also need to remember that both Wang Wang and Funi are still young pandas, and are only just reaching ."

Davey said Wang Wang, 8, had only been able to produce a low volume of sperm, which was not uncommon for a young panda. In the wild juvenile males typically do not breed because they are fought off by dominant older animals.

"We have learnt a great deal from this year's breeding attempt and are looking forward to next year when hopefully we will have more success," she said.

Fewer than 1,600 pandas remain in the wild, mainly in China's Sichuan province. A further 300 are in captivity around the world and breeding programmes aim to preserve the low-sexed creatures.

A was born in Taiwan in July and there have been several other births in recent months in the United States and Spain, all the result of artifical insemination.

Explore further: Ants in space find it tougher going than those on Earth

Related Stories

Giant panda gives birth in Madrid zoo

Aug 30, 2013

A giant panda which is already a mother of twins gave birth again Friday in a Madrid zoo, welcoming the tiny new arrival with licks, zoo officials said.

British panda given helping hand in quest for cub

Apr 21, 2013

Experts at Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland have artificially inseminated Britain's only female giant panda Tian Tian after she failed to mate with her male partner, Yang Guang, the zoo announced on Sunday.

Recommended for you

Ants in space find it tougher going than those on Earth

1 hour ago

(Phys.org)—The results of a study conducted to see how well ants carry out their search activities in space are in, and the team that sent them there has written and published the results in the journal ...

Rats found able to recognize pain in other rat faces

1 hour ago

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers working in Japan with affiliations to several institutions in that country, has found that lab rats are able to recognize pain in the faces of other rats and avoid them ...

Isotope study shows which urban ants love junk food

13 hours ago

Research from North Carolina State University finds that some - but not all - of the ant species on the streets of Manhattan have developed a taste for human food, offering insight into why certain ants are ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

alfie_null
2 / 5 (1) Sep 23, 2013
How much money is the Adelaide Zoo paying to rent these pandas? Wikipedia notes terms from the Chinese government go up to $1 million per year per panda. To me, that sounds like a lot of money, that might be better spent conserving threatened indigenous species.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.