The two pandas; Shin Shin (a female) and Ri Ri (a male) seem to have taken quite a shine to one another and are being hidden away from the prying eyes of the paying public in the hopes that, given a little privacy, they might mate.
According to officials at the Ueno Zoo in Japan’s Capital, Shin Shin is beginning to show the tell tale signs of being in heat.
“We have seen Shin Shin showing signs that she is in heat, so we have suspended public viewing and are getting ready to put her and Ri Ri together,” said Mikako Kaneko.
Getting pandas to mate in captivity is notoriously difficult for a number of reasons, one of which being the pandas diet of bamboo doesn’t exactly provide huge amounts of energy.
Dr Kaneko also provided another reason as to why pandas are so difficult to mate: the incredibly short window during which the panda females are fertile.
“As female pandas are able to conceive for just a few days during a year, we are now carefully watching them so that we won’t let the chance slip away,” she added.
Indeed even finding the “signs” that a female panda is in heat is fairly difficult to spot, the behaviours giving Shin Shin away are the fact that she is walking more and making odd noises.
Shin Shin and Ri Ri have had a baby before – the first giant panda born in captivity in 24 years – alas the poor thing died of pneumonia about a week later bringing everybody concerned to tears on live television.
So godspeed to Ri Ri and his panda penis, from all of us here at TNT Downunder!