Last weekend, officials at the Edinburgh Zoo made it explicitly, NC-17 clear that their resident giant pandas, Yang Guang and Tian Tian, are on the cusp of copulating. It could really happen any day now, and rather than be caught unawares by the Great Panda Fuckathon of 2013, zookeepers have been hard at work "training" their fragile mating pair in the subtleties of lovemaking.
More or less. This weekend, for lack of any compelling Academy Award hype and because pandas have managed to become the poster squees for wildlife conservation, the Telegraph has offered readers an in-depth, behind the smut look at just how zookeepers are girding their loins for the fraught enterprise of mating giant pandas in captivity. One can't simply allow captive pandas to screw — they're way too delicate for that. Only a few zoos outside of China have arranged successful panda liaisons, and the Edinburgh Zoo is not taking any chances that the male panda Yang Guang, virile though he may be, will have the stamina to mate with Tian Tian.
The stakes are high, according to the Telegraph, because if the Edinburgh pandas mate successfully, their panda cub will be the first ever born in Britain. That's a pretty exciting prospect, which is why zookeepers are taking every precaution to ensure that the upcoming panda sex is a smashing success:
To achieve success, they have introduced a strict regime of training and testing, involving a carefully managed diet and physical exercises – and even specially selected easy-listening music, to get the animals in the mood.
But just in case all the meticulous planning fails to light the required spark, experts are being brought in from Berlin to perform artificial insemination on the female, in addition to the hoped-for natural coupling.
Zookeepers, however, would really like them to breed naturally. To that end, they're concentrating on building Yang Guang's strength, which includes doubling his bamboo intake from 110 lbs. a day to 220 lbs., and hosing his enclosure down with Tian Tian's urine. And then there's the issue of getting Yang Guang to feel sexy:
In order to soothe his nerves, ahead of his big task, keepers are playing him Smooth Radio, whose disc jockeys include Simon Bates and Donny Osmond. The bear previously listened to Classic FM, but his keepers switched to the easy listening station because he found it more relaxing.
As the moment of their reunion approaches, keepers have also started to "tease" the pair with glimpses of each other, via a grate between their enclosures.
It all seems like a lot of effort to get two pandas to do it. Has anyone even bothered asking Tian Tian if she wants kids? Maybe she and Yang Guang would be better off taking a cruise to Barbados, where they can enjoy frozen cocktails and not have to worry over some bratty British-born panda baby.