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"Three Key Problems" in the Reproduction and
Breeding of the Giant Panda Tackled


After 13 years' continuous efforts (from January 1 1991 to October 2003), the "three key problems" in the reproduction and breeding of the giant panda were finally tacked.

When the China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Panda was first established in January 1 1991, there were only six giant pandas; but now, it has 74 giant pandas, which is the largest manually-bred giant panda group in the world.

By improving the feeding and management of giant pandas, adjusting the feed formula, and studying the reproductive physiology of female giant pandas and their periods of ovulation, 75% of female giant pandas in the reproductive period have given birth to young panda cubs.

From a historical perspective, only 28.6 grown-up giant pandas can have offspring, mainly because only a few of them can mate under natural circumstances. Besides, the low success ratio of fertilization also makes it impossible for most giant pandas to have their offspring.

Through modifying methods of cold preservation of giant panda's sperm, the vitality of sperm after defrosting has been greatly increased. At the same time, a comprehensive study of giant pandas¡¯ hormone also makes it possible to have timely artificial fertilization. Apart from these, the method of using natural mating and artificial fertilization at the same time has great increased the chance of pregnancy.

For a long time, few male giant pandas can have natural mating. Through artificial breeding, the China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Panda successful make 6 giant pandas able to mate. At present, of the 4 manually- bred male giant pandas in the center, three are able to have natural mating.

From 1991 to 1997, 24 giant panda cubs were born and 14 (58.33%) survived; from 1998 to 2003, 41 giant panda cubs were born in 25 pregnancies and 38 survived- the survival rate is as high as 92.7%.

The year 2000 is a year of miracles for the research center. The number of giant pandas in heat is larger than ever before. 11 female giant pandas become in heat and their heat period last very long, i.e. from late March to mid May. Even during holidays, most scientific researchers kept on observing the behavior of giant pandas in heat. By monitoring the hormone level and cornification of epithelial cells in the vagina of female giant pandas, they had timely natural mating or artificial fertilization on 8 female giant pandas. Three of the eight giant pandas were only artificially fertilized because their heat behaviors were not very typical. All this had prepared for the coming harvest of panda cubs in autumn. In the mating period of 2000, sperms had been collected 9 times from three male giant pandas to enrich the "Wolong Giant Pandas' Sperm Pool" and ensured future artificial reproduction work. During the year 2000, 12 panda cubs were born in 8 pregnancies and 11 survived (one was born dead), so as to set two world records- record in pregnancies times of female giant pandas and survive rate of panda cubs within one year.

Careful Selection of Bamboos for Giant Pandas Artificial Feeding Stuff
Hormone Detection Sperm collection with electro stimulation
Sperm Examination with a Microscope Artificial Fertilization
Milking of the giant panda Feeding Milk
Taking caring Drinking milk
Happy life Giant Pandas' Hospital

Domestic Cooperation of the Research Center
Early Research on the Giant Panda's Reintroduction to Nature