EIJING, Nov. 23 (Xinhuanet) — Picture this: pandas watching porn to procreate.

“It works,” enthuses Zhang Zhihe, a leading Chinese expert, about showing uninitiated males DVDs of fellow pandas mating.

It’s taken years of worldwide research and now scientists say they have unleashed a baby boom among one of the world’s most beloved but endangered animals, China’s giant panda.

A bit of panda porn has helped too, they say.
Pandas are known to be poor breeders and blue movies are just one of many techniques that have been tried to teach them to breed. The efforts to understand and simulate conditions for mating and raising cubs have paid off in China, the panda’s native habitat.

Now it’s a matter of successful mating outside China. The first test will come in January, when Prasertsak Buntragulpoontawee hopes to bring off a successful mating between male Chuang Chuang and partner Lin Hui in the northern Thailand city of Chiang Mai.

“It is the same idea as chimpanzees seeing people smoke and then copying it,” says the Thai researcher.

Zhang, director of the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, says this year’s record high births is because of an accumulation of research on panda biology, nutrition and genetics while “trying to imitate nature better.”

In the first 10 months of this year 31 cubs were born in captivity in China and 28 survived, said Zhang. That’s an increase from 12 births in 2005 and just nine in 2000. Of this year’s births, 14 came through natural breeding, while artificial insemination or a combination of the two produced the rest.

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