I know you guys have been breathlessly awaiting the “panda a week” post. Sorry it’s ca little longer than a week! I promised last week that I’d feature a male panda this week and what better male panda than Bai Yang?
His name means “white youth” but can also mean “poplar” tree. I think it’s funny that his name has “white” somewhere in it because he’s the dirtiest panda I’ve seen. He was captured from the wild in 2005 in Baoxing County as a yearling cub so they believe he was born sometime in 2004.
He’s considered one of the top breeders here at the CCRCGP even though he is young, because he consistently gets a natural breeding. Bai Yang’s first year of breeding was 2011 (I actually got to witness one of the matings last year) and he successfully fathered two cubs. He holds onto the female for a very long time during the mating which probably has a lot to do with his success.
He is one of my favorite pandas as well. Perhaps it’s because he’s so “male”. He always does the picture perfect breeding and male behaviors which make him a very good study subject and allows me to take many pictures. Bai Yang was mated on March 8th with Hai zi and had a what looked like a successful natural mating. We shall see if they produced a baby around August! I say “around” because giant pandas exhibit a very peculiar evolutionary adaptation known as delayed implantation. A fertilized egg does not immediately implant on the mother’s uterine wall, but instead “floats” around in her reproductive tract for varying lengths of time. Which means, we do not know the exact length of the giant panda’s actual gestation period. The range for “gestation” is quite large with time from mating to birth being anywhere from 95 to 160 days. This delayed implantation gives the giant panda more control over when cubs are born because birth dates are not precisely fixed by mating dates. Thus, cubs can be born anywhere form late summer into the fall.