Panda Faked Pregnancy for Extra Bamboo
Research center calls off birth broadcast
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2014 2:21 AM CDT
Updated Aug 28, 2014 5:03 AM CDT
A female giant panda strolls in the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Chengdu.   (AP Photo/Xinhua, Jiang Hongjing)

(Newser) – A panda research center in China called off what would have been the first-ever live broadcast of a panda birth after determining that panda Ai Hin wasn't pregnant—just crafty. Pregnant pandas at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding get special treatment, and while "phantom pregnancies" among pandas are fairly common, experts suspect Ai Hin was actually faking symptoms, including reduced mobility, to get herself treats like extra bamboo, CNN reports.

"After showing prenatal signs, the 'mothers-to-be' are moved into single rooms with air conditioning and around-the-clock care," an expert at the base explains. "They also receive more buns, fruits, and bamboo, so some clever pandas have used this to their advantage to improve their quality of life." There are just 1,600 giant pandas left in the wild, so the breeding program is crucial to the species' survival, though only around a quarter of captive female pandas give birth, AFP notes. (One person who took a surprising interest in panda sex: Richard Nixon.)

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Showing 3 of 22 comments
sandrae
Aug 30, 2014 10:38 PM CDT
Maybe panda intellligence levels should be looked at closer. That's pretty heavy. It takes ingenuity. (Next thing we hear: She is going to hold a press conference to 'fess up how she did it.)
JoeQ
Aug 28, 2014 12:26 PM CDT
Those zookeepers sure were bamboozled.
dennis
Aug 28, 2014 12:08 PM CDT
So the Panda got the attention she wanted, you would think the staff a the Panda research center would have done a ultra sound to confirm the pregnancy. panda 1 research center 0