WASHINGTON (CBSDC)– One crafty panda at a Chinese zoo faked pregnancy symptoms to get better living conditions, according to experts.
Experts at Taipei Zoo determined that a female panda named Yuan Yuan was faking signs of pregnancy in order to secure special privileges for the summer, as reported by China Daily.
Yuan Yuan was given to Taiwan as a gift in December 2008 by the Chinese mainland. She had been showing symptoms including loss of appetite, thickening of the uterus, and increased fecal progesterone concentration since early June.
Though the 11-year-old panda was artificially inseminated in late March, panda experts who evaluated her determined through ultrasound checks that Yuan Yuan was not with cub.
A zoo spokesperson says the symptoms of pregnancy are beginning to return to normal appetite level and behavior.
The zoo often moves pandas thought to be pregnant to private rooms with air conditioning and extra care, including more fruit and bamboo. Experts say pandas who notice the difference in treatment may subsequently display certain behaviors to get access to these benefits.
Yuan Yuan gave birth to her first and only cub in July of 2013, drawing many visitors since. Pandas are among the rarest animals in the world, with as few as 1,864 giant pandas living in the wild, according to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park.
While many of the more than 300 pandas in zoos and breeding centers remain in China, they can also be found around the world. The Smithsonian National Zoo is home to two giant pandas after it signed a Giant Panda Cooperative Research and Breeding Agreement in 2011.