London: A new study has finally unraveled the mystery as to why male pandas struggle to mate when in captivity.
For most us, the idea of having a panda looking on as we try to procreate is unlikely to be a turn-on. But for the male giant panda, this could be what they need.
Potentially earth-shaking research suggests that male pandas, famous for their struggles in "shaping up", are much more attentive to females when exposed to the smell of a rival, the Independent reported.
Giant pandas are an endangered species, with fewer than 2,000 left in the wild.
Attempts to breed more in zoos have had limited success: only a quarter of adult males have mated naturally in captivity, and natural mating accounts for only about 40 percent of successful breeding.
Now, a study of 11 genetically unrelated adult males aged six to 17 years has found that male pandas may be more inclined to get going if they think there`s a rival in the vicinity.
Researchers from the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda, said that the results suggest that exposing males to the odour of other males may be a useful technique to enhance captive breeding.
Exposure to male odours in the presence of oestrus females elicited a high level of investigation, indicating increased arousal in male giant pandas, they said.