Beijing: Ten female pandas at a breeding base for the endangered species in southwestern China mated since February, a conservation centre in the region announced today.
According to the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Pandas in Sichuan Province, six of the 10 pandas mated naturally, two by artificial insemination, and the remaining two had both.
The centre captive-breeds the world's largest panda population 218 as of the end of 2015. Twenty-six female pandas and 19 males have been selected in this year's mating plan.
Pandas have infamously solitary lifestyles female pandas only tolerate a male's presence around them two to three days a year during mating season, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Their eggs only live for 36 to 40 hours, making conception even more difficult. The success rate of conception is between 30 per cent to 40 per cent and no more than 40 per cent of cubs survive.
"Male captive pandas capable of natural mating are extremely few less than 5 per cent of the population. But the pregnancy rate among female pandas receiving natural mating is above 90 per cent this year, which is a good sign," said Zhang Guiquan, director of the centre.
Artificial breeding of giant pandas in China is planned for the sake of genetic diversity. A total of 56 pandas nationwide have been selected for reproduction this year.
A total of over 1,800 giant pandas live in the wild in China. The country has 67 panda sanctuaries, covering 53.8 per cent of their habitat and 66.8 per cent of the wild population.
In the last five years, four giant pandas were successfully reintroduced into the wild....