Following initial reports that American-born panda, Hua Mei, would have her pick of four suitors at the Wolong Panda Reserve in China, it seems that panda-ologists want to make sure Hua Mei knows how to mate: Hua Mei is now watching sex education tapes - PANDA sex education tapes. The AP reports:
"We hope she can get pregnant by the end of March," said Wei Rongping, assistant director of the research center. "But first of all, she should have some sexual education."
Because Hua Mei has been in captivity since she was born, she has little knowledge of sex, so officials have shown her videos of mating pandas and brought her to see other pandas mating.
Similar sex education courses given to other pandas in the center had resulted in natural matings.
Intriguing! Pandas' mating instincts need to be drawn out with sex tapes! It's so bizarre and brings up questions that Gothamist had never thought of before, like "Do pandas watch other pandas mate?" and "How is that possible when they are so solitary?" Or "Is that why they are endangered - they don't know how to have sex?" If only Hua Mei could use a computer - then she could see our detailed coverage of D.C. pandas mating.
The other priceless quote is when Wei says of the male panda suitors, "I do not know which of them will be lucky enough to mate our princess. It's all up to Hua Mei to find her own 'Mr. Right.'"
[Thanks to corie, Christine and Charlie]
Updated: A letter on McSweeney's wonders if panda sex is "ferocious or tame." Don't we all. Thanks, Josh.