Panda mates for the first time in four years - but it only lasts seconds

Helena Horton
Chilling out: Male giant panda Ri Ri eats bamboo grass after mating  - Aflo / Barcroft Media

It is notoriously difficult to get pandas in captivity to reproduce, so when Ri Ri and Shin Shin looked in the mood for love after spotting each other through a fence at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo, they were quickly introduced.

Despite being mated for the first time in four years, the sexual encounter lasted only 52 seconds, but zookeepers are still hopeful that it could have been successful. 

The pandas preparing to mate - Credit: AFP/Getty Images

After the act, the male panda Ri Ri reclined, chomping happily on some well-deserved post-coital bamboo.

Shin Shin, on the other hand, skulked off into a corner.

Shin Shin heads to the pond  - Credit: Barcroft Media

The two giant pandas, now 11, were brought to the zoo from China in 2011.

They live separately on the grounds, until mating season which runs from February to May.

Because they appeared to be "in the mood for love" after staring at each other through a fence, zookeepers decided to give it a go

The encounter only lasted seconds - Credit: AFP/Getty

"We let the two be together at 8:06am (2306 GMT Sunday) and confirmed they mated for 52 seconds from 8:48am," the Ueno Zoo announced in a statement.

 

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