Tian Tian and Mei Xiang, getting down at the National Zoo; Photo - National ZooYesterday, prompted by a Washington Post article about the National Zoo pandas possibly mating, Gothamist decided to see what Tian Tian and Mei Xiang, the Giant Pandas, were up to via the panda cameras. Well, as it happened, Tian Tian and Mei Xiang were engaging in some hot panda action. After a combined 52 years of watching National Geographic, Wild Kingdom, and Animal Planet, Gothamist didn't think we'd be shocked or surprised by panda mating, but, as it usually turns out, we didn't think long enough. Gothamist felt both riveted and dirty, wondering when the porn soundtrack would start. Apparently, panda-style mating means the male walks away every few moments for some air and then comes back to continue to mate. The female sort of lies there, just waiting for the male to mount her. Damn the National Zoo for taking the romance out of panda procreation!

Today's Washington Post confirmed the mating: Tian Tian "gets an 'A' for technical merit and an 'A' for effort," said Assistant Curator Lisa Stevens, who spent Thursday night in the Panda House after the zoo decided to start keeping the pandas together at night because of their increased sexual behavior. Gothamist thinks Mei Ziang deserves an 'A+' for patience.

The National Zoo proudly shows pictures of yesterday's mating. Gothamist also offers images:

Panda Action

The Washington Post has a special section with panda-related articles: Pandas, a Special Report.

Jen visited Tian Tian and Mei Xiang's D.C. panda predecessors, Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing, in 1982. Here she is with Ling Ling.

Jen and Ling Ling, 1982; Photo - Paul Chung