How are the giant pandas doing?
About a month ago, the giant pandas Xing Ya and Wu Wen really 'hit it off'. The first mating of the giant pandas in Ouwehands Zoo became a fact. This is happy news in its own right, because we now know that they accept each other as mates. But how is everything now and do we know if Wu Wen is with young?
Little by little, we learn more about the giant pandas. Until the middle of January, we didn't know if We Wen and Xing Ya would connect well. At least we now know that they like each other. However, there are still many unanswered questions. For example, is Xing Ya fertile? And if so, is Wu Wen fertile as well?
These questions will stay unanswered for the time being. We are now doing everything we can to prepare for the possible arrival of a cub. But the truth is that we have to let ourselves be surprised.
Measurement is key (?)
We will continue to collect Wu Wen's urine and analyse it. Gestation could possibly be visible in the urine from 2-3 weeks before the birth of a possible young. However it could also indicate pseudo pregnancy. So even with this analysis, nothing is certain.
Behaviour and appearance
We analyse Wu Wen's behaviour daily, to see if anything changes. Consider, for example, changes in diet or decreased activity. Her external features could also change, for example swelling of her nipples. But it could just as well be that none of these signs occur!
The gestation of a giant panda is, on average, 3 to 5 months; the shortest gestation 96 days, the longest one year. Just like polar bears, giant pandas are a species that have the extraordinary ability of delayed implantation. The female can delay the implantation of the embryonic blastocyst in the uterus. This means that it is even more difficult to provide a clear indication of the gestation period.
We'll only know for sure that Wu Wen is pregnant when she gives birth to a young, since changes in her hormone levels could also indicate a pseudo pregnancy. The next few months will continue to be exciting.