Pairi Daiza’s female panda, Hao Hao, was this week successfully inseminated, the Belgian animal park confirmed on Friday. If everything goes as planned, a newborn giant panda will see the light of day at the end of next August. Absolute certainty of Hao Hao’s pregnancy will only, however, be confirmed three weeks before the birth.
Hao Hao brought a tiny male, Tian Bao, into the world in 2016. That was the very first birth of a giant panda in the Benelux countries.
At the beginning of the week, Hao Hao and her companion Xing Hui were kept apart and the female was able to be inseminated, the spokesman for Pairi Daiza, Mathieu Goedefroy, confirmed. “Anything but that is a small feat. Female pandas are only fertile for 24 hours in a year. We, therefore, have to watch all this very closely with the help of hormonal experts. When the time comes, we have to try to inseminate as much as possible during this period.”
Hao Hao was inseminated twice, which increases the chances of a pregnancy, M. Goedefroy explained. But absolute certainty of pregnancy can only be established three weeks before the birth. Hao Hao, Xing Hui and Tian Bao will still be visible throughout this period to the park’s visitors.
After the 2016 birth, there was no attempt to inseminate Hao Hao in 2017 because her baby Tian Bao was still too young. A fresh attempt was made in 2018 but failed. “We are more hopeful this time”, Mathieu Goedefroy continued. “All parameters are good. One can never be 100% certain, but we are extremely hopeful.”