This shocking discovery has turned all previous scientific studies upside down as the recipe of making beautiful baby pandas needs only 1 ingredient: Love. Scientists have been trying to preserve the panda population for a long time.
Over a long time, every endeavour have been made to preserve the panda population as this species has been listed as “vulnerable”. And the fact that pandas are ridiculously difficult to breed in captivity is a headache for zookeepers, conservationists and scientists.
Artificial insemination, special care for newborn pandas even panda porn were implemented but nothing has ever come close to an optimal solution. Not until recently, a new research published in the journal of Nature Communications has opened up certain avenues in panda breeding revolution.
The researchers recognized that many panda couples match-made by dedicated zookeepers or conservationists didn’t really get along well. They merely growl at each other to shoo the other away.
Martin-Wintle, the new study’s leader and a postdoctoral associate at the San Diego Zoo realized that an important aspect has been neglected. “It really struck me that we had nearly eliminated mate choice from captive breeding by focusing so much on just the genetics,” she said.
They then tried to experiment on 40 pandas at the China Conservation & Research Centre for the Giant Panda in Chengdu, China. The pandas were allowed to voluntarily choose their own mates rather than being forced in “arranged marriages”. They shared the same enclosure with open, barred windows. This intimate space allowed the couple to break the ice and really get to know each other.
Male pandas show signs of attractions by sniffing the under-tail parts of the partner while the females reciprocate the affection through chirping noises.
And the final result was surprisingly incredible: those pandas who had chemistry with each other clearly showed more interest in mating. The procreation rate is therefore considerably increased by 75 percent.
When a female was given an opportunity to determine its father’s children, the pair completed 70 successful sex acts out of 100 intercourses, compared with approximately 30 percent of the time when fertile females had to copulate with an unappealing mate. And the overwhelming majority of pandas mated with their preferred partners showed more maternal care towards their offspring while those that didn’t were less inclined.
Positive results remained even if it was just unrequited, one-way love. Lovely panda cubs
Who would have thought the answer could be that simple? Love is the key to creating adorable panda cubs. A new chapter has been opened for panda breeding programs around the world.
Lesson learned: despite being considered as no-brainers, pandas have hearts and are secret romantics. Considering all the above findings, they actually share a lot in common with humans.
If we want to reintroduce this dying species to the wild, here’s the best course of action: give pandas free reign over their love life and let them go with it. Love is all that matters.
However, researchers still haven’t figured out what draws pandas to each other. Some suggest it could be the sophisticated cues of genetic compatibility. Size also matters to female pandas as they are attracted to bigger males.
Martin-Wintle said she is now studying this question and hope to obtain the precise answer in the near future to improve panda reproduction and save their sparse population.