Giant pandas more likely to reject cubs after artificial insemination

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Conservationists have used artificial insemination to help grow giant panda populations, but data from decades of births show that panda mothers are less likely to care for cubs born this way

Life 28 January 2022

By Sophie Freeman

W982GH --FILE--Female giant panda Tian Tian, or Sweetie, eats bamboo at the YaAn Bifengxia Base of China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda

A female giant panda at the Bifengxia Panda Base in China

Imaginechina Limited/Alamy

Giant pandas that become pregnant through artificial insemination are more likely to reject their newborn cubs than those who conceive by mating naturally. This finding could help conservationists in building the population of giant pandas, which has been on the rise over the past decade.

As newborns, giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) are helpless. They require near-constant body contact to keep a steady temperature, won’t open their eyes for six to eight weeks, and need to be licked to stimulate …

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