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The mating season of the giant pandas was eagerly awaited at Schönbrunn Zoo. No wonder, since the Vienna Zoo is the only one in Europe where the endangered bears have so far naturally had offspring. After the death of male Long Hui in December 2016, Yuan Yuan came to Vienna from China in spring 2019 as a new partner for the female Yang Yang. Yang Yang and Yuan Yuan live in separate facilities with visual contact. Adult giant pandas are solitary animals. They are only ready to mate two days a year. It is therefore crucial that the animals can coordinate well with one another. At the first signs, the experienced team had the bears change equipment regularly so that they could exchange information via scent brands.

On March 27, the connecting doors between the plants were opened. After a short scramble left Yang Yang and Yuan yuan at a distance. However, their communication via scent brands and sounds increased steadily in the coming days.

Zoologist Eveline Dungl explains:
They showed the same behavior as Yang Yang and Long Hui before the pairings. Yang Yang climbed onto the platform and signaled with barking noises that the time had not yet come. Like Long Hui, Yuan Yuan waited downstairs at a safe distance and guarded her. Again and again one of them approached the other with soothing grumbling. So far everything was as we knew it from the past.
They have shown great interest in each other, but unfortunately no mating has taken place this year. Only the two of them know why. They are of an advanced age and have different experiences. It was their first encounter and it doesn't always work right away.

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On April 2, the connecting doors remained closed for both of them. Yang Yang has already given a lot of joy with five young animals and made a significant contribution to the preservation of their species in human care. Fu Long, Fu Hu, Fu Bao and the twins Fu Feng and Fu Ban now live in China. Giant pandas can live up to 35 years in zoos. Yang Yang and Yuan yuan are in the 20th and 21st year of life. You are no longer the youngest. But who knows: "New Year New luck.“

The representative of the owners of the Schönbrunn Zoo, Federal Minister Margarete Schramböck, emphasizes the high quality of the care of the pandas in the Schönbrunn Zoo: "The excellent work of the zoo keepers at Schönbrunn Zoo is known across borders. Yang Yang and Yuan Yuan are in the best of hands here. Although the zoo is still closed at the moment, the zoo is still very busy. I would like to thank everyone who is currently ensuring that our animals are well looked after.“

Schönbrunn Zoo can open from May 15th

Good news for all animal lovers: Schönbrunn Zoo can reopen from May 15th. "I am delighted that we can make Schönbrunn Zoo available again as a popular excursion destination, where families in particular can enjoy animals and nature in these turbulent times“, Says owner representative Federal Minister Margarete Schramböck.

The protection of health is of course in the foreground. Therefore, a concept for a controlled reopening has been developed, which is continuously adapted to new requirements and possible easing. Gastronomy and the zoo shop are open to a limited extent as part of the current measures.Details

Source: Press releases - Schönbrunn Zoo, Vienna,
Photo: Daniel Zupanc,
Video: Schönbrunn Zoo, Vienna