“The boon in panda numbers at the Chengdu centre has largely been attributed to the innovative ‘twin swapping’ technique. More than half of pandas give birth to two cubs at a time but only care for one. It is assumed that as pandas cannot store fat, they lack the milk or energy to care for more than one cub at a time. Whenever a cub was abandoned after birth, keepers at the Chengdu centre swiftly moved it to an incubator. Panda mothers were tricked into caring for twins as staff stealthily rotated them between their mother and the incubators.”
— Female giant pandas have an annual fertility period that lasts only 12 to 24 hours. Males have problematically short panda penises. The animals seem to forget how to have sex in captivity, and react poorly to being shown sex-ed videos or given viagra. Still, miraculously, conservationists at China’s Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Center have successfully raised 168 cubs since starting their efforts in 1987.
Now they say that within 15 years, they will try to reintroduce the endangered creatures into their natural environment of wild mountain bamboo forests — all the remaining of which will presumably be domed in plexiglass and rigged for 24-hour video camera surveillance by then. This is good. The things are obviously going crazy all penned up like they are.