Springtime for Pandas
It's Panda breeding season, but with Su Lin still nursing, no new babies being made this year at San Diego Zoo! ^^
Su Lin with fruitsicle
It�s springtime, and the season for panda breeding has arrived. In the wilds of China and in some captive facilities around the world, pandas are focused on finding one another and mating. One zoo in the U.S. has already had a female cycle through her estrus and performed multiple artificial inseminations on her. In San Diego we have no such plans this year, because our only sexually mature female, Bai Yun, is still raising her youngster born last year (Su Lin, pictured here with a fruitsicle).
Does that mean there are no signs of breeding-related changes here? No! We have seen some shifts in behavior from our male, Gao Gao, which indicate that he would be ready to mate if called upon this season. His rates of olfactory investigation and scent marking have gone up a bit. This means he is actively searching for scent and is advertising his presence in the facility. Should Bai Yun go into estrus, he would know about it! But Bai Yun will not go into estrus. Past experience with Bai Yun�s other two cubs has shown us that so long as she is lactating she will not have a behavioral or hormonal estrus in the spring following a birth. From an evolutionary perspective this makes good sense, since her cub is not yet sustaining itself on bamboo. If Bai Yun were to get pregnant, she would need to wean Su Lin before she denned up again in the summer� and Su Lin is decidedly not ready to be on her own. If she were abandoned by her mother in the next few months in the wild, she would most likely starve to death. More