• Kyodo

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Two giant pandas will be removed from public view Thursday because they appear to have entered the mating season, Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo said Wednesday.

The zoo added that it will decide within about two weeks whether to start showing the 7-year-old mammals again.

On Monday, panda Shin Shin started to show signs that she is ready for mating, walking more frequently than usual and giving out noises, suggesting she is in heat. Ri Ri the male is also acting similarly, the zoo said.

The zoo will let the pandas see each other over a partition for a while before letting them mate.

The mating season for giant pandas occurs just once a year, during which time females are able to conceive for just a few days.

Shin Shin and Ri Ri had a cub last year, the first giant panda cub at the zoo in 24 years, but it died of pneumonia six days later.

“The two are getting along well, so we are hopeful” of a successful mating, said the zoo’s deputy chief, Yutaka Fukuda.

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