Mating pandas off to good start

2013-03-12 14:01
Mei Xiang and another one of her cubs. (AFP)

Mei Xiang and another one of her cubs. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tokyo - A mating pair of pandas have wasted no time in getting intimate, a Japanese zoo said on Tuesday, coupling on their first evening together and then again the next morning.

The female Shin Shin and her companion Ri Ri were put in a private enclosure on Monday evening after keepers at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo noticed they were ready to mate.

"We have confirmed Shin Shin and Ri Ri mated on Monday evening and Tuesday morning," Hidetoshi Kurotori, an official at the zoo's education and information division, said. "Things are moving ahead smoothly."

Kazuomi Nishikiori, director of education and information at Ueno Zoo, declared himself delighted with the animals' progress.

"I think the first step went very well. We feel relieved. We are extremely happy," he said.

Detailed descriptions of the coitus were posted on the zoo's website, along with a picture and a 30-second video.

The video was aired on the main early evening news programme of public broadcaster NHK.

Public viewing was suspended last week when keepers noticed the pandas were in season, in the hope that they would have more luck reproducing away from the prying eyes of the thousands who visit the city zoo every day.

Shin Shin mated with Ri Ri in March last year and gave birth on 5 July - yielding the zoo's first giant panda cub in 24 years.

Announcements of the cub's subsequent death from pneumonia interrupted regular broadcasting, with the zoo's director making a tearful statement on the TV news.

Pandas, whose natural habitat lies in mountainous south-western China, have a notoriously low reproductive rate and are under pressure from factors such as habitat loss. China has about 1 600 pandas living in the wild.

Read more on:    animals

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.