Smart panda bear. I’m pretty sure I would do the same if I was locked up in a zoo.
A giant panda intended to be the star of the first ever live broadcast of the birth of panda cubs has lost the role — after it was discovered the bear is not pregnant after all, Chinese state media reported.
Not only was it a phantom pregnancy but zookeepers suspect the panda, Ai Hin, may have been faking it to improve her quality of life, the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding told Xinhua on Monday.
Ai Hin, age six, had shown signs of pregnancy, including a change in appetite, moving less and an increase in progestational hormone in July, according to Xinhua.
But after observing her for two months, she began acting normally again, zookeepers said.
Experts say pandas sometimes carry on the behaviors associated with early pregnancy after noticing that they get preferential treatment, the news agency said.
“After showing prenatal signs, the ‘mothers-to-be’ are moved into single rooms with air conditioning and around-the-clock care,” Wu Kongju, an expert at the Chengdu base, is quoted as saying.