Monday 19 August 2019

Berlin zoo brings pandas together in hope of romance

The male and female have been living in neighbouring enclosures for nearly two years.

It is hoped Jiao Qing will mate with Meng Meng (Michael Sohn/AP)
It is hoped Jiao Qing will mate with Meng Meng (Michael Sohn/AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

Sometimes love takes its time, but Zoo Berlin is hoping that this is the year for panda romance.

The zoo’s two giant pandas, eight-year-old male Jiao Qing and five-year-old female Meng Meng, arrived from China in June 2017.

Meng Meng, Zoo Berlin’s female panda (Michael Sohn/AP)

After nearly two years munching bamboo in neighbouring enclosures, they were brought together for the first time on Friday as keepers confirmed Meng Meng is in heat — a phase that lasts for 72 hours per year at most.

Their efforts were not immediately rewarded. Zookeeper Norbert Zahmel said Jiao Qing was afraid at first but then tentatively approached his prospective mate. He added “they still need to practise a bit”.

Jiao Qing, Zoo Berlin’s male panda (Michael Sohn/AP)

The zoo says panda pregnancies on average last 155 days and produce one or two cubs.

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