February 22, 2017 – A Tokyo zoo suspended public viewing of two giant pandas today to allow the pair to mate now that the female panda appears to be in heat.
The Ueno Zoological Gardens is preparing to house female panda Shin Shin and male panda Ri Ri, both aged 11, in the same enclosure in the next few days in hopes they will mate, it said.
Shin Shin has been attracted to Ri Ri’s scent, while Ri Ri has been seen trying to cool his body and displaying other signs he is in heat since December, according to the zoo.
In 2012, a cub was born to the pair but died six days later from pneumonia. In 2013, Shin Shin showed signs of pregnancy, but proved not to be. The two have not mated since 2014.
The breeding season for pandas is from February to May, and it is said there are only a few days when there is a high chance of conceiving.
The zoo is considering artificial insemination if Shin Shin and Ri Ri do not mate.