Anyone who follows Shanghaiist’s extensive coverage of pandas is by now well-aware that we are more than a tad obsessed with the fluffy, adorable creatures. That’s why we were as shocked as anyone to learn that they can sometimes act like total assholes. Maybe.
China Daily has reported that a panda named Yuan Yuan at the Taipei Zoo in Taiwan actually faked her own pregnancy in order to be relocated to fancier accommodations ahead of the summer.
Yuan Yuan, one of a pair given to Taiwan as gifts by the Chinese mainland in December 2008 had shown signs of pregnancy such as loss of appetite, thickening of the uterus and increased fecal progesterone concentration since June 11.
But panda experts flown from the mainland determined through ultrasound checks that Yuan Yuan was not pregnant, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency.
The 11-year-old had been artificially inseminated on March 26 and 27 when she was on heat, according to a zoo spokesman.
The symptoms of pregnancy are already beginning to return to normal appetite levels and behavior, the spokesman said.
When pandas become pregnant at the zoo, they are moved into single rooms with air-conditioners, where they receive extra helpings of food and around-the-clock attention.
Researchers believe Yuan Yuan, after observing the change in treatment, may have displayed behavior similar to that exhibited during pregnancy so that she could live in air-conditioned luxury during the scorching summer months.
How she managed to “fake” the thinning of her uterus, we cannot answer, but apparently this isn’t the first case of its kind.
A giant panda named Ai Hin at the Chengdu Breeding Research Center was believed to have tricked breeders into thinking she was pregnant so that she could get special treatment last summer. The breeders had even planned a live-broadcast of her birth which had to be cancelled when they found out it was all a bigger sham than Liu Xiang’s marriage.
Yuan Yuan is no stranger to the process, however. The panda gave birth to her only cub Yuan Zai in July 2013. Naturally, you can read more than you would possibly ever need to know about him here.
By Maggie Wong
[Images via Sina News]