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Individual study: Analyzing the past to understand the future: natural mating yields better reproductive rates than artificial insemination in the giant panda

Published source details

Li D., Wintle N.J., Zhang G., Wang C., Luo B., Martin-Wintle M.S., Owen M. & Swaisgood R.R. (2017) Analyzing the past to understand the future: natural mating yields better reproductive rates than artificial insemination in the giant panda. Biological Conservation, 216, 10-17


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Use artificial insemination Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated study in 1996–2016 in Sichuan Province, China (Li et al. 2017) found that following artificial insemination, a lower proportion of 78 captive female giant pandas Ailuropoda melanoleucahela became pregnant than after natural mating. Following artificial insemination, a lower percentage of female pandas became pregnant (19%) than following natural mating (61%). However, there was no significant difference in the litter size of females inseminated artificially or through natural mating (data reported as model results). Between 1996 and 2016, seventy-eight female pandas held in open-air enclosures at two facilities were subject to 65 attempts at artificial insemination and 150 attempts at natural mating. Natural mating was always attempted first but, in cases of excessive aggression between males and females, artificial insemination was used instead.

(Summarised by Phil Martin)