Female giant pandas ‘chirp’ to get pregnant

December 3rd, 2009 - 12:59 pm ICT by ANI  

London, December 03 (ANI): A study on giant pandas has found that the females inform the males about their fertility status through chirp calls.

Giant pandas’ short breeding season is facilitated with female pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) making high-pitched calls soliciting male attention.However, the breeding depends on the males accurately reading the female calls.

The researchers from the US and China, who have made the findings, insist the study will help in understanding the species’ reproductive behavior.

“Several nonhuman mammal studies have shown that female vocal behaviour can advertise fertility,” the BBC News quoted Dr Benjamin Charlton from Zoo Atlanta, Georgia in the US, who led the research team, as saying.

He added: “Recent work on humans has shown that that female vocalisations varies significantly around their fertile period.”

The research team recorded vocalisations of captive giant pandas in China and the US as part of the study.

It was observed that the chirp calls differed according to the pre-fertile or fertile stage of the animals’ reproductive cycle.

The scientists noted female giant pandas in a fertile stage gave longer calls characterized by a higher jitter and harshness.

The study points out the increased harshness of the chirps could indicate greater arousal levels.

Also, the males use calls to preferentially mate with females who signal they are at the optimum time for mating.

Charlton concluded: “By identifying key aspects of reproductive behaviour in giant pandas we can hope to provide the ideal environments and stimuli required for them to reproduce.

“In doing so we can increase the success of captive breeding programmes.”

Charlton, along with researchers from San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research in the US and the China Research and Conservation Centre for the Giant Panda, Sichuan Province, China, conducted the study.

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. (ANI)

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