Tired, Horny Pandas

Chengdu Breeding Center


Everyone knows they won’t mate. But why is he just not that into you? We spent a day at China’s bamboo-forested panda breeding & research center, where they cracked the giant panda horniness code.

Four-month old


Pandas are so unsociable, so ornery, the emperors once trained them as weapons of war. They’re picky daters, and also have major post-partum depression. (Granted, it’s hard to bond with a baby 1/1000th of your size–in human terms, newborns 1/20 of an inch).

Cubs seriously like rockinghorse


Why so grumpy, though? Years of intergroup mating. Because groups are separated by deep valleys — this is the Hengduan mountain range, which dwarfs the Alps, although we’d never heard of it (embarrassing). The species is also old (8 million years, rather than the animal average of 5 million), which also apparently makes them sour.

Cracking the code: Breeders realized this ancient, irritable species is so exhausted by horniness, they’re too beat to get around to sex. So scientists cut the old-fashioned mating altogether, and collect semen straightaway. At first, they used electrostimulation. But in the past few years they’ve really upped the baby making thanks to something extra: Combining electrostim with massage!
Who has that job?

Too drunk to ---- ?


There are only 2,000 pandas on earth and the breeding center, in just 5 or 6 years, has already bred 100+ cubs. Each year sees 20-odd new panda cubs coming into being: The real happy ending.

Next: Tibet.
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