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Panda too tired to mate
Updated: 2004-04-04 17:06

Pandas raised in captivity are often overweight and have trouble mating, hampering efforts to conserve the rare species, a Hong Kong newspaper reported Sunday.

Female panda Yue Yue mates with male panda Da Di at the Giant Panda Protection and Research Center in Wolong, Southwest China's Sichuan Province, March 14, 2004. Researchers say grown-up pandas enter their 3-month-long estrous period from March every year. [Xinhua]

"They're fat, their limbs lack strength, and they run out of gas quickly after standing up to have sex," the Chinese-language Wen Wei Po quoted Chinese panda expert Tang Chunxiang as saying at a conference in Hong Kong.

Tang said conservation workers have introduced an exercise regime to help the pandas lose weight and strengthen their limbs before mating season -- which usually starts in March -- the report said.

The giant panda is one of the world's most endangered species.


The San Diego Zoo's male giant panda cub, Mei Sheng, tests his tree-climbing skills at the SBC Giant Panda Research Station, at the San Diego Zoo, February 25, 2004. [Reuters]

About 1,000 are estimated to live in the wild, all in China.

More than 140 live in captivity around the world.

To boost the number of wild pandas, Chinese experts are teaching survival skills to pandas bred in captivity with hopes of releasing some of them into the wild next year, Wen Wei Po reported.

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