Copenhagen Zoo tries to get Chinese owned pandas to mate as every panda counts

Pandas have one chance a year. Therefore, Copenhagen Zoo is actively trying to get them to mate. Photo: Thomas Sjørup / Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark rented in 2019 two pandas from Chengdu Panda Base in China after several years of preparations. Denmark has rented the pandas for 15 years which means they still belong to China and so do any future cubs. But the big panda is an endangered species and every panda counts so Copenhagen Zoo is actively trying to get the pandas to mate. It is not as easy as such however and the male panda seems uninterested, writes Danish media BT.

The male panda named Xing Er and the female panda named Mao Sun in Copenhagen Zoo has a chance a year to mate. The male panda however does not show quite the same interest in mating as the female panda which is why the efforts to get the two pandas to mate have not yet been successful.

The cost of renting the pandas is one million US dollars a year for 15 years. In addition, there are costs for operating and caring for the pandas. The idea of ​​sending a pair of pandas to Denmark arose in 2010 with the then head of the Danish consulate in Chongqing in China, Hans Halskov.

The same year, the management of the Copenhagen Zoo met for the first time with the management of Chengdu Panda Base in China to discuss the idea. It was not until April 2014 that it was revealed during a Danish business promotion in China that China would rent out two pandas to Denmark.

This year is the second time that Copenhagen Zoo has tried to get the pandas together to mate, but so far without success. According to Mads Bertelsen, veterinarian and zoological director at Copenhagen Zoo, it is, unfortunately, a well-known phenomenon, especially among young male pandas as that they do not really understand what this is about.
“When you are a panda, and there is only one chance a year to practice, it takes time to gain experience in the art of love. So it can take a long time before it succeeds, Mads Bertelsen says.

The big panda is an endangered animal and 20 years ago it was very critical. The great efforts to save the species with breeding in captivity have however been successful and today there are twice as many as there were in the 1980s.
“But it is nevertheless still an endangered species. And every new panda counts,” Mads Bertelsen says.

Mette Larsen

About Mette Larsen

ScandAsia Journalist • Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. • Thailand

View all posts by Mette Larsen