Study Shows Why Giant Pandas Need Tinder

Mutual attraction drastically increases the likelihood of panda babies
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2015 4:00 PM CST
Study Shows Why Giant Pandas Need Tinder
Researchers found that giant pandas are more likely to make babies if they're attracted to each other.   (Chinatopix via AP)

The scientist who invents a Tinder for giant pandas may just single-handedly save the endangered species. A study published Tuesday in Nature Communications found that pandas are much more likely to successfully mate when they're attracted to each other. It seems like an obvious conclusion, and that's why why researchers found it "surprising that mate preferences have not figured more prominently in captive breeding programs," reports. Instead scientists have tried everything from Viagra to artificial insemination to "panda porn" to bring the endangered animals back from the brink. "Our findings highlight that mate preference and other aspects of informed behavioral management could make the difference between success and failure of these programs," the study states.

Live Science reports researchers let pandas choose between two possible mates using various signs of attraction, indifference, or aggression. Pandas that were mutually attracted to each other had a 75% likelihood of successfully reproducing. Without any attraction, the odds were closer to 0%. Those odds improved when even one panda—male or female—showed signs of attraction. While this seems like an easy solution to breeding issues, scientists still have to address the problem of genetic diversity in a small population. Researchers recommend screening prospective mates for genetics first then letting pandas choose. According to, they believe this could make breeding programs both more successful and cost-effective. (More giant pandas stories.)

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