n yet another failure in the depressing field of panda copulation, an extremely rare brown giant panda was unfortunately unsuccessful in its first attempt at mating naturally with a lady panda.
At the Foping Nature Reserve in the Qinling mountains of Shaanxi province, 9-year-old Qizai stands out from the crowd. Found abandoned by his mom at the age of two, Qizai is the world’s only brown panda living in captivity. While pandas born in Qinling are known for having brown tufts of fur, Qizai is the only one to have totally rebelled against the monochrome uniformity of its brethren.
It’s believed that’s Qizai’s coloring comes because of a genetic anomaly, so, obviously, researchers have been anxious to get the animal to lose its virginity and produce offspring. Of course, that’s easier said than done.
This summer, researchers found Qizai an extremely appealing and experienced mate to guide him through the process, an “energetic” 18-year-old female panda named Zhuzhu who has already given birth to four cubs. In June, Qizai and Zhuzhu were placed in neighboring enclosures and quickly began to show interest in each other.
However, when push came to shove, Qizai apparently couldn’t handle the pressure of being with an older woman. “The two pandas tried several times but eventually failed to copulate,” notes the state-run Global Times.
Soon, Qizai had missed his window and there were no second chances. Female pandas go into heat only once every year, for between to 12 to 25 days, but are only receptive to mating and fertile for about 24 to 36 hours during that span.
Not wanting to miss the opportunity, researchers artificially inseminated Zhuzhu with some of Qizai’s sperm, however, it’s not clear if the procedure will come to anything Four other pandas have already been artificially inseminated with Qizai’s sperm, producing no offspring as of yet.