Caught in the act: Rare panda mating filmed at Vienna zoo

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 23, 2016 11:40 AM

VIENNA (Reuters) - Love was definitely in the air at Vienna's Schoenbrunn zoo on Wednesday when two giant pandas mated several times, a rare event in captivity for one of the world's most endangered species that their keepers caught on camera.

The mating season for pandas, known for their low libido, is once a year, with females only able to conceive for two or three days, making reproduction difficult.

But sparks flew between Yang Yang and Long Hui, and the zoo released a video of the pair in action.

"This is a sensation for giant pandas," Schoenbrunn zoo said in the statement. "...Other zoos and especially breeding stations rely solely on artificial insemination."

The zoo said animal keepers had noticed the signs between Yang Yang and Long Hui, usually loners outside the mating season, for about a week and let the bears "get together".

With gestation taking up to 163 days, they will now be waiting to see if the mating was successful.

Three panda cubs have been born at Schoenbrunn zoo since 2007 and, at the age of two, were taken to China, where most of the species lives in mountain ranges.

There are fewer than 2,000 pandas left in the wild, according to the World Wildlife Fund, which has the bear as its logo.

(Writing By Marie-Louise Gumuchian; editing by John Stonestreet)