Berlin panda with mini baby bump

Berlin panda with mini baby bump

Pregnant or not? This question is currently on the minds of animal lovers in berlin. At the center of the deliberations is the panda pair of the capital zoo, which is cautiously optimistic about offspring for the summer.

"There is a high probability, but not yet absolute certainty, that barin meng meng is in foal," zoo director andreas knieriem said on wednesday. "We have never been this far in berlin before."

Germany’s only panda pair – on loan from china – has been living in the capital since 2017. Barin meng meng, which means "little dream," is regarded at the zoo as curious and adventurous, but also as a little diva. If something does not suit her, she runs backwards. At the moment, however, meng meng is in a bad mood, eats little and is more restless than usual, knieriem reported. Together with hormone values from the urine and an ultrasound image, the six-year-old panda is suspected of being pregnant – for the first time in her life.

But no one knows for sure whether the three-centimeter embryonic bladder, which can be seen in the youngest ultrasound image of the mother, will turn into a panda cub. False pregnancies, in which embryos do not mature, are considered possible in pandas. "It’s all controlled by hormones," said expert thomas hildebrandt from the leibniz institute for zoo and wildlife research (IZW), who has regularly examined the lady panda. However, the probability that meng meng is actually expecting offspring is around 85 percent.

But visitors will not see a panda with a big baby belly. Panda cubs are born tiny and immature. They are no rougher than guinea pigs, naked and helpless. At a birth in berlin, chinese experts were brought in to assist in the early stages of the rearing process. Cubs remain chinese property according to contract. Only at the age of three months does a small panda, which only slowly grows fur, begin to walk.

Every baby of the endangered pandas is considered valuable for breeding. Some pandas have been reintroduced into the wild, even if they were born abroad, hildebrandt said. In the wild in china, only about 1860 rough pandas still lived.

In order to know how to get pregnant in the first place, meng meng received training in berlin right from the start. She learned to lie down on command, have her belly shaved and rubbed with warm ultrasound gel. Anesthesia is not necessary.

Last year, the playful meng meng appeared to the zoo to be too young for a mating attempt. This april, the two black-and-white bares were allowed to find each other – their ten-million-euro enclosure with a pool and misty lizards also has a love tunnel. However, the two were considered inexperienced in terms of panda sex. To increase the probability of offspring, meng meng was also artificially inseminated. Because the time window in which panda females are ready to conceive is very short, with a maximum of 72 hours per year. Panda twins were last born in a belgian zoo in europe.

The animal rights organization peta criticized that the keeping and breeding of pandas in zoos was purely for political and economic reasons, but made no contribution to species conservation. Of the animals bred worldwide, only seven had been released into the wild by 2016 – and only five had survived.

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