Chinese animal feeders suspect that a panda female has pretended to be pregnant to receive benefits. The lie cost her the role of TV celebrity.
Last month, giant panda Ai Hin began to show signs of waiting for an increase. Her appetite changed, she started to move less and the levels of certain hormones increased. At the panda center in Chengdu, the animal caretakers became very anxious.
Giant pandas are usually unwilling to mate in captivity, so pregnant pandas are therefore extra well taken care of. The panda center also decided that Ai Hin’s birth would become the world’s first live panda birth.
After a few weeks, the panda girl suddenly began to behave quite normally again. Now it turns out that Ai Hin is not expecting kids at all.
It is relatively common for giant pandas to become abusive, but the animal caretakers at the center where Ai Hin lives suspect that the female has pretended to be pregnant to improve her quality of life. When a panda at the center becomes pregnant, she receives special benefits such as her own air-conditioned room and 24-hour service. She also gets better food.
“They are allowed to eat more buns, fruit and bamboo, so some sly pandas have used it to improve their situation,” says panda expert Wu Kongju.
The giant panda is very endangered, and according to the experts at the panda center, a panda female is only fertile three days a year.