Oddly Enough

Zoo gets big panda to slim down for sex

BANGKOK (Reuters) - A male panda at a Thai zoo has been placed on a month-long diet to avoid squashing his partner during sex, and will be shown “panda porn” to get him in the mood, the project chief said on Wednesday.

Chuang Chuang, a six-year-old male who weighs in at 150 kg (330 lb), was too big for his 115-kg, five-year-old spouse, Lin Hui, Prasertsak Buntrakoonpoontawee told Reuters.

“Chuang Chuang is not fat but he will be too heavy for Lin Hui when they mate,” he said. “The weight difference will be a hurdle to the success of their mating.”

Prasertsak said male pandas should weigh 30 kg less than their partners.

The pair have been at the zoo in the northern city of Chiang Mai since 2003 and were officially “married” two years ago. However, they have show little inclination to consummate their union.

The zoo hopes Chuang Chuang will lose 10 kg in a month on the diet, which started last week and includes fewer “cookies” and bamboo stems, and more bamboo leaves, which are harder to chew.

“It will take him more time to chew leaves than the stems,” Prasertsak said, adding that Chuang Chuang had already lost about 4 kg in one week.

When Chuang Chuang hit the required weight, he would be able to enjoy videos of other pandas mating to get him in the mood.

“The videos will be played for Chuang Chuang a few days before Lin Hui comes into a heat, probably in February, so that he will have some time to practise,” Prasertsak said.

The panda pair are a major draw at the Chiang Mai Zoo, which makes paper souvenirs out of their dung.

The animals, which were lent to Thailand by China, were “married” in November 2005 at a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony overseen by a Chinese diplomat to mark the zoo’s 28th birthday.