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.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use artificial insemination

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Use artificial insemination

    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)

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 21

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape ProgrammeRed List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Mauritian Wildlife Supporting Conservation Leaders
Sustainability Dashboard National Biodiversity Network Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust