Generic filters
Exact matches only
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Panda Updates- Friday, February 16

Did you know that even if giant pandas will not be breeding, that we still see behaviors associated with breeding season? Our Panda Care Team is here with an expert update …

Most of our followers know that Yang Yang and Lun Lun retired from breeding in 2018 after Ya Lun and Xi Lun were weaned. At the time, Yang Yang and Lun Lun were 21 years old, which is considered geriatric for giant pandas. Now, at 26 years old, Yang Yang and Lun Lun have lived long past their wild counterparts’ lifespan. However, every year, we have still seen behaviors related to breeding season starting around January or February.

As environmental cues and hormones indicate that breeding season is here, the behaviors we typically see from Yang Yang and Lun Lun are:

Increased walking (which pandas if looking for mates).

Since their instincts drive their need to walk around, they don’t take breaks to eat or drink. It is very common, as they are walking around, for their mouths to get dry, so we see increased saliva collect around their mouths.

Reduced eating, despite having access to the best bamboo, biscuits and produce (this behavior being because they are too busy looking for mates).

Bleating (this is a friendly, contact vocalization).

And scent-marking (letting other pandas know they are in the area and ready to breed).

Since the pandas arrived, the Panda Care Team has kept meticulous records to document all of the behavioral changes that occur during breeding season. We can look back in those records to see if we notice any changes over time. We have been expecting a reduction in breeding season behaviors as Yang Yang and Lun Lun age and their hormones wane, just like in humans. It’s perfectly normal for an older panda to have a reduction in hormones, and thus, a decrease in the behaviors associated with those hormones.

As we anticipated, in the last couple of years, we have seen fewer of these typical behaviors from Yang Yang during breeding season. Instead, he is spending more time eating and resting. Similarly, last year, Lun Lun still presented breeding related behaviors, but at a less intense level and over a shorter period of time. Breeding season is upon us and so far, we haven’t observed any related behaviors from either adult. Time will tell what will happen this year.

On the other hand, though, Ya Lun and Xi Lun are at an age where they will start showing an increase in all of the breeding behaviors described above. These behaviors can last for several months, until the breeding seasons ends, typically in late spring.

Panda Care Team

Connect With Your Wild Side #onlyzooatl