Giant pandas more likely to reject cubs after artificial insemination

Conservationists have used artificial insemination to help increase giant panda populations, but figures from decades of births show that panda mothers are less likely to care for cubs born this way

Life 28 January 2022

W982GH --FILE--Female giant panda Tian Tian, or Sweetie, eats bamboo at the YaAn Bifengxia Base of China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda

A female giant panda at the Bifengxia Panda Base in China

Imaginechina Limited/Alamy

Giant pandas that become pregnant through artificial insemination are more likely to reject their newborn cubs than those that conceive by mating naturally. This finding could help conservationists further increase the number of giant pandas, which remain vulnerable.

As newborns, giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) are helpless. They require near-constant body contact to keep a steady temperature, don’t open their eyes for six to eight weeks and need to be licked to stimulate urination and defecation.

”A newborn panda cub …

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