Ocean Park Zoo which is located in Hong Kong has been shut down owing to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic epidemic but two pandas in the zoo mated for the first time in captivity and that too after ten years.
The 14-year-old giant pandas, female Ying Ying and male Le Le were spotted mating on Monday morning and the zoo also posted a statement along with photos of the event.
Zoo officials strongly believe that this natural encounter will lead to a pregnancy, but they said that they will not be able to know if there will be a child until about 14 to 17 days before birth and an ultrasound will need to happen to confirm the pregnancy around that time.
In an official statement, Michael Boos who is Ocean Park’s executive director in zoological operations and conservation said that the possibilities of pregnancy through natural mating are much higher than artificial insemination.
“The successful natural mating process today is extremely exciting for all of us, as the chance of pregnancy via natural mating is higher than by artificial insemination. We hope to bear wonderful pregnancy news to Hong Kongers this year and make further contributions to the conservation of this vulnerable species,” Boos said.
Pandas have been deemed endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and have also been reclassified as vulnerable.