Sometimes love takes its time, but Zoo Berlin is hoping that this is the year for panda romance.
The zoo’s two giant pandas, eight-year-old male Jiao Qing and five-year-old female Meng Meng, arrived from China in June 2017.
After nearly two years munching bamboo in neighbouring enclosures, they were brought together for the first time on Friday as keepers confirmed Meng Meng is in heat — a phase that lasts for 72 hours per year at most.
Their efforts were not immediately rewarded. Zookeeper Norbert Zahmel said Jiao Qing was afraid at first but then tentatively approached his prospective mate. He added “they still need to practise a bit”.
The zoo says panda pregnancies on average last 155 days and produce one or two cubs.