For 10 years zoo officials have tried to mate two pandas, Ying Ying and Le Le of Ocean Park in Hong Kong, in vain. However, they announced the good news on Monday that the two have finally succeeded to mate amidst the coronavirus shutdown in the zoo.
Indeed, it seems all these shy pandas needed was a little privacy. Michael Boos, executive director for zoological operations and conservation at Ocean Park explained that: “The successful natural mating process today is extremely exciting for all of us, as the chance of pregnancy via natural mating is higher than by artificial insemination”.
Since late January the park has been closed to visitors due to the coronavirus outbreak, as indicated by CNN.
According to staff, since the closure the two giant pandas started to behave similarly to that which is common during breeding season, which usually occurs between March and May every year.
“Since late March, Ying Ying began spending more time playing in the water, while Le Le has been leaving scent-markings around his habitat and searching the area for Ying Ying’s scent”, Boos said in a press release.
“If successful, signs of pregnancy, including hormonal level fluctuations and behavioral changes may be observed as early as late June, though there is always a chance that Ying Ying could experience a pseudo-pregnancy.”
“We hope to bear wonderful pregnancy news to Hong Kongers this year and make further contributions to the conservation of this vulnerable species,” added Boos.