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Jianjun Peng, Zhigang Jiang, Guangyong Qin, Qunce Huang, Yuxiao Li, Zhen Jiao, Fengqiu Zhang, Huasheng Fang, Jinguo Zhang, Yanping Lu, Xuefeng Liu, and Jinpeng Liu (2009)

Mate choice in giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)


Giant pandas are difficult to breed in captivity due to low oestrus and mating rate, high cub mortality and diseases. Thus, improving the mating success of giant pandas in captivity is an important conservation issue. After observations on eleven female and three male giant pandas from Beijing Zoo, Lanzhou Zoo, Chengdu Zoo and Giant Panda Breeding Center during their mating season in 2000 similar to 2001, we found that mate choice plays an important role in mating success. Both male and female pandas actively chose their mates. Successful copulation only occurred in those males and females that both showed high frequencies of courting behaviour towards the opposite sex. Of those cases that only a male or female showed one-sided high or low frequency of courting behaviour in the keeper-arranged panda pairs in random order, no copulation was observed. Only three out of twenty-four paired pandas successfully copulated. All three impregnated female pandas in this study bore cubs. This indicated that mating choice was one of the important factors resulting in unsuccessful copulation and failure to reproduce. We recommend that attention be paid to the mate choice in giant panda when breeding pandas in pens are paired for reproduction in the future.

giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca); mate choice; natural mating; courting frequency; survival fitness
  • ISSN: 0777-6276

ISSN 2295-0451 (online version)
ISSN 0777-6279 (printed version)
impact factor 2015: 0,87.

Prof. Dr. Isa Schön
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Vautierstraat 29
1000 Brussels, Belgium


Annales de la Société malacologique de Belgique
​Annales de la Société royale malacologique et zoologique de Belgique
Annales de la Société Royale Zoologique de Belgique
Belgian Journal of Zoology