If you’re wondering why there was such a lag between posts for the last couple of weeks it’s because we’ve hit the second “wave” of females going into estrus over here in Bi Feng Xia. One of the females that went into estrous right before Nate and my whirlwind visit to Hong Kong to renew our visas (yes we SHOULD have work visas but communication break down during prep for China and we ended up having to get regular old tourist visas).
Anyway . . . back to panda breeding. You’ve probably noticed a couple of pictures on our site of a cute, fuzzy, very round faced panda. Her name is Ying Ping ( 英萍 ) which translates to Ying Ping in English (really I’m not kidding it’s just Ying Ping the keepers tell me there’s not a translation and google translate tends to agree with them). I think she is so cute, even if her behaviors are very unusual. I do mean UNUSUAL. I haven’t heard her make one single bleat or chirp throughout her entire estrous. She’s the “silent” type I guess. Just to give you an idea of how unusual this is for a female panda during estrous, it’s typical for me to record in excess of 100 bleats and/or chirps in a 3o minute time period for a normal female. The males on either side of Ying Ping were very confused to say the least!
But she’s oh-so-photogenic and I think she looks just like a stuffed panda! She’s very shy and sensitive to environmental factors so once the keepers show up at 8:30am she tends to just keep to her self and stay quiet. I think this is why she hasn’t had a successful mating. I’d be interested to see what would happen if they tried to mate her during non-business hours with only a few staff around so that the environment was more calm. Who knows maybe it would help. Unfortunately, we can’t try anything this season because she passed estrous and they had to artificial inseminate her.
Stay tuned for next weeks panda – Qing Qing. I have the cutest video of her!