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Love is in the air for Britain's pandas

Conservationists at Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland put Yang Guang together in the same enclosure as Tian Tian yesterday after months of monitoring the female panda’s hormones and behaviour.


In the mood for love: Tian Tian, the female panda brought from China, has been calling out to Guang, going up to the grate that separates them and spending time in her pond to cool off. pic/afp

Over the past week, she has been calling out to Guang, going up to the grate that separates their enclosures and spending time in her pond to cool off, while her hormone levels have also been changing. But he will have to move fast as the two pandas are being put together for just 15 minutes at a time — any longer and they are likely to start fighting.

Experts concede that the normally placid bamboo-munching animals may start attacking each other immediately in any case. “We have hopes that they will breed, but it’s totally up to them,” said the zoo’s director of research and conservation, Iain Valentine.

“Our experts will be on hand to separate the two bears if the sparks fly just a little too much, as at the end of the day, both are powerful and dangerous animals.”

If they get on, they will be put together up to three times on the first day, and then again on the second day.

If that fails, the zoo will look at whether Tian can be artificially inseminated.

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