The Therapy Sessions
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
No wonder they're almost extinct:
But Hsing-Hsing and Ling-Ling were not simply dull. They were also unpleasant. Confinement depresses zoo animals, and the pandas were no exception, behaving more like kooks than teddy bears. Ling-Ling, unprovoked, assaulted one of her keepers and gnawed on his ankle. The animals' decadelong attempt to mate was played as comic opera, but it was much darker. At first Hsing-Hsing failed to inseminate Ling-Ling because he tried to mate with her ear (aural sex? - JR) and her arm. (He may have been inept because he never learned about mating in the wild.) Then the zoo imported a male panda from London Zoo to mate with Ling-Ling. He mauled her instead. (So much for panda comity.) Eventually Hsing-Hsing got it right, and between 1983 and 1989, Ling-Ling bore five of his cubs. All of them died within days. One cub perished after Ling-Ling sat on it. Another seems to have been killed by a urinary tract infection acquired from Ling-Ling. Keepers believe Ling-Ling infected herself by sticking bamboo and carrots up her urinary tract, surely neurotic behavior.
From Best of the Web.