Ueno Zoo to put panda pair back on view after failed mating attempt

by Mizuho Aoki

Staff Writer

Following a failed attempt to get the pair to breed, Ueno Zoo announced Monday it will put its popular giant pandas back on display Wednesday after keeping them out of the public eye for almost two weeks.

The Tokyo zoo drew the curtain over female panda Shin Shin and male panda Ri Ri on March 6, after Shin Shin lost her appetite and began bleating like a sheep — signs she had gone into heat.

Several times a day the pair, who are normally kept in separate pens, were placed beside each other with only a fence between them, to see if they would show interest in each other.

However, Shin Shin turned up her nose at Ri Ri, a zoo staffer said, adding that the zoo will keep a close eye on the pair, noting that the mating season usually lasts from February until May.

The panda pair excited attention in 2012, when Shin Shin gave birth to a cub. However, it died of pneumonia about a week later.

Last year’s mating season was unsuccessful.