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Japan zoo gives pandas privacy as mating season starts

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - 21:59

Tokyo: A Tokyo zoo is to shutter its panda display in an effort to encourage the famously lethargic creatures to concentrate on mating without the distraction of spectators, a spokeswoman said today.

Starting from tomorrow, Shin Shin and her companion Ri Ri will be given a bit of alone time at Ueno Zoo after she began exhibiting signs that she was ready to procreate.

"Shin Shin is moving around more often and bleating like a sheep, a sign that it is mating season," the spokeswoman said.
"The two have good chemistry and we all hope the couple will bear a healthy new baby," she said.

The couple captivated Japan in 2012 when Shin Shin gave birth to a cub, the first giant panda born at the zoo in 24 years.

However, the baby bear died from pneumonia a short time later, an event that provoked newsflashes on national television.
Despite the weight of public expectations, last year`s mating season was unsuccessful.

Pandas, whose natural habitat lies in mountainous southwestern China, have a low reproductive rate and are under pressure from factors such as habitat loss.

AFP
First Published: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - 21:59
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