I just had to do Lu Lu this week because he’s been such a good breeder these last two weeks. He is by far the longest intromissions I’ve seen (he held on to Xi Mei for 12.5 minutes! The longest I’ve ever seen is 30 and I think 2 minutes or so is about average). As part of our reproductive study we’ll be evaluating whether the length of intromission reflects on how successful the mating was.
LuLu was born in 1999 – for the life of me I can’t figure out what his name means I think it’s just LuLu. He was captured as a cub near the Lushan Zoological Garden and transferred to Wolong. He had his first cub in 2005 at the age of 6!! Such an early bloomer! Males usually become reproductively active anywhere from 6-8 years old, though anywhere from 4-8 has been reported in the scientific literature. But to have a cub the very first year is rare in captivity – it takes a few tries to get things right.
He has five cubs: Ying Ying (2005), Fu Ni (2006, now at Adelaide Zoo in Australia), Tao Tao (2006 as well by Xi Mei, so who knows maybe this years breeding will bring another cub!), Fu Wa (2006, Fu Ni’s twin brother), and Xiang Lu (2009). So it has been about 3 years since we’ve had a cub from Lu Lu. He hasn’t been highly featured in recent breeding years because he already has babies that are alive and close to breeding age so his genetics are not as coveted by breeding managers for the current population.
Lu Lu doesn’t really need extra mating attempts to be successful now . . . he usually is introduced to a female and has mounted them within 5 minutes or less. He is so tenacious during his matings that he and Xi Mei actually fell over and he STILL managed to hold on to her!
But don’t take my word for it! Watch this video of Lu Lu and Xi Mei mating (the first mating video of the season)!
Sorry for the quality of the video. I’m having difficulties with conversion issues but will try to update it soon.