Panda-monium: no love lost between Copenhagen’s premier panda couple

Mao Sun and Xin Er may eventually get down to business … after they stop hitting each other

Copenhagen Zoo has decided to employ a new strategy in order to get its panda bears to mate.

For the past four years staff at the zoo have been trying to get Xing Er and Mao Sun to successfully procreate.

Despite their best efforts, however, there were no baby pandas born in Frederiksberg last season. This has prompted a change in tactics.

The new strategy, already successful with the zoo’s brown bears and polar bears, puts the pandas in the same enclosure earlier in the season than in previous years.

Pugnacious pandas
The problem with this, according to zoologist Mads Frost Bertelsen, is that pandas like a punch-up.

Being solitary animals, the bears can get upset if another panda disturbs their contented bamboo-munching, leading to altercations between potential partners.

The theory is that at a certain point they should stop fighting and get down to reproducing. Although the presence of thousands of spectators who flock each year to catch them in the act can’t exactly help.

Signs of hope
In spite of their abysmal reproductive record, Mao Sun and Xing Er are getting along well enough. Or at least they aren’t fighting yet.

They were reintroduced to each other this morning, and apparently they are sitting near each other eating bamboo, although neither seems particularly interested in the other.

According to Bertelsen, “this is the best situation we could have hoped for”.

Mating season is due to begin in three weeks’ time.