Panda porn to cure bedtime blues
CHENGDU, China -- China is flicking on sex videos, and not Viagra, to rouse the dreary desires of captive male giant pandas who are famously indifferent to female overtures.
As notoriously sex-shy giant pandas reach adulthood in China -- around the age of six -- they are now routinely given ringside seats to panda porn as part of their initiation rites.
When Didi turned six on Tuesday at the China Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center in Wolong, he sat eyes glued in front of a screen that showed a video of two giant pandas mating, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
"Didi seemed to like his gift immensely," it reported of his coming of age.
While it is not clear how far the "sex education lesson" goes into the finer details of the art of love-making, this X-rated scene is being repeated across China to pander to their basic instincts.
The Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding and Research Base in Sichuan Province is also in on the act, showing sex education films once in the morning and again in the evening.
"Through this kind of sex education, we expect to arouse the sexual instincts of giant pandas, enhance their natural mating ability and raise their reproductive capacity," said Zhang Hemin, director of the China Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center.
Giant pandas, especially those in captivity, have such low sexual desires it is threatening their future, prompting workers to turn to artificial insemination to keep the endangered species going.
Only about 1,100 giant pandas still survive in the wild, along the edge of the Tibetan plateau in China.
But rather than use drugs such as Viagra to help giant pandas boost their sexual desire, centers believe sex education and physical exercise will make all the difference, says Zhang Guiquan, an official with the China Giant Panda Protection Center.
For long periods, more than 60 percent of adult male giant pandas in protection areas or zoos lack any sexual desire. Only 10 percent of them are capable of natural mating and only 30 percent of female giant pandas become pregnant and give birth.
Early results look promising. Last year, Ximeng in Wolong completed his first natural mating after a long bout of sex education. He is now a father.
And panda handlers are even more optimistic about Didi. After an intensive dose of panda porn, he is showing a stronger libido than Ximeng and is expected to mate next year.
As a result of mating and artificial insemination, the number of giant pandas in Wolong has soared to 55 from around 20 in 1998.
Chengdu, for its part, has witnessed 11 births in the last three years.
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