Friday, 6 April 2012

Reproductive Seasonality Observed in Male Giant Pandas

ScienceDaily (Apr. 4, 2012) — A three-year study of giant pandas published 4 April 2012 in Biology of Reproduction's Papers-in-Press reveals that reproductive seasonality exists not only in female pandas, but in male pandas as well.

According to the authors of the study, this new understanding of the regulators of male reproductive function will allow continued improvement of the captive panda management program and will, one day, assist in reintroducing pandas into the wild.
The giant panda is a specialized bear whose wild habitat now consists of only a few mountain ranges in central China. Attempts at preserving this endangered species have met with varying success, but over the last decade, substantial progress in giant panda breeding within China has resulted in a significant increase in the population of captive pandas.
Female panda reproduction has been thoroughly studied, and it is well known that a panda's estrus, the state of sexual excitement that immediately precedes ovulation, occurs only once a year, sometime between February and May, and lasts only 24 to 72 hours. Few studies have examined male reproductive capacity and physiology in similar detail, and none involved sample sizes larger than one or two individuals.

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