Giant Panda faked pregnancy to improve quality of life?
Did you know giant pandas could lie, and lie in a very convincing manner? The Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Foundation of China has reportedly discovered that a pregnant giant panda is actually not pregnant at all. She has been pulled off the show that touted the first live broadcast of a giant panda giving birth. It turned out that Aibang has been faking her pregnancy, and the speculated reason is quite astounding.
After Aibang was mated on March 30 with Yong Yong, she started developing pregnancy symptoms in July, with changes in appetite, less movement, and a rise in progesterone hormone. She was scheduled to be on the live broadcast, but in the past two months, her progesterone hormone level has decreased and her appetite has returned to normal. It's been determined that she is not pregnant at all.
According to giant panda expert, Wu Kongju, faked pregnancy or 'pseudo-pregnancy' is actually quite common among giant pandas. It is difficult to discern a real pregnancy from a fake one in a giant panda without constant monitoring and observation. Sometimes a panda's pregnancy may not be confirmed until a day or two before the actual birth.
Wu also said, perhaps jokingly, "After showing prenatal signs, the 'mothers-to-be' are moved into single rooms with air conditioning and around-the-clock care. They also receive more buns, fruits and bamboo, so some clever pandas have used this to their advantage to improve their quality of life."
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The female giant panda is fertile for no more than three days a year, and the time span for its pregnancy is from 80 to 200 days. Due to all the possible uncertainties, a giant panda giving birth is one of the world's hardest things to predict and also one of the most miraculous events to witness.
In the meantime, a cleaver giant panda such as Aibang has figured out a way to get premium concierge service in her life, even if for just a while, because sooner or later, there has to be a baby.
(That's the mischievous Aibang in the giant panda photo from pandafoundation.com)