This is either the world's smartest panda or the world's best panda actor. Or both.
What was intended to be the world's first live panda birth has been postponed because the mom-to-be, six-year-old Ai Hin, may have been faking her pregnancy to receive more care, according to The Independent.
This type of fake pregnancy or "phantom pregnancies," are quite common among giant pandas. However, the breeding centre in China's Sichuan province where Ai Hin was supposed to give birth says she may just be smarter than the average bear.
According to AFP, the breeding centre often moves pregnant pandas to single rooms with air conditioning and frequent care. They also get more buns, fruits and bamboo added to their menu.
Ai Hin was showing signs of low mobility, reduced appetite and even her hormones surged — all common among expectant mother pandas. For the most part, panda pregnancies are also quite hard to predict unless there is a positive ultrasound or until a cub is born.
And although Ai Hin may have snagged a few extra meals, the reality is pandas are endangered (1,600 live in the wild) and the rest held in captivity don't often give birth.
“Only 24 per cent of females in captivity give birth, posing a serious threat to the survival of the species,” China's news agency Xinhua notes.
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