EnvironmentAnimalsHuan Huan panda in France is pregnant again: zoo

Huan Huan panda in France is pregnant again: zoo

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Orléans, France: Huan Huan, a giant panda on loan to France by Beijing since 2012, is pregnant again and could soon grace the country with her second cub, the Beauval zoo in central France said Tuesday.

“An ultrasound a few hours ago confirmed the presence of a panda embryo,” a spokesman told AFP, adding that birth could occur late this month or in early August.

Panda reproduction, in captivity or in the wild, is notoriously difficult because the female panda is in heat only once a year for about 48 hours.

Huan Huan and her partner Yuan Zi — the star attractions at Beauval —  thrilled zoo officials in March when they managed to make “contact”, as they put it, eight times in a weekend.

Veterinarians also carried out artificial insemination, just to be sure.

That technique was used on Huan Huan for the birth of her first cub, Yuan Meng, in 2017, the first panda ever born in France.

Now grown to around his mother’s size, he is to be sent this year to China, where around 2,000 pandas live in the wild and a further 500 are in captivity.

The number of pandas worldwide has rebounded since the black-and-white bear was declared an endangered animal in the 1980s, thanks to efforts to protect it and its habitat.

The gestation period varies from three to five months.

Cutest diplomacy

Although a not-so-friendly image in world politics, China has its own ways to forge political and diplomatic relationships with other nations.

Extensive geography means China is home to some of the world’s rarest species of animals, including the smaller brethren the red pandas.

Throughout the 1950s to the 80s, China, under its newly formed Communist leadership gifted a select few nations with its national treasure, including the US, France, and the UK.

Pandas are of so much importance to China, that since 1984, they were leased to other nations on a 10-year term with a hefty price tag of $1 million, per panda per year.

AFP
AFP is a leading global news agency for comprehensive, verified coverage of events shaping the world.

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