KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Just three days in their new home, female panda Feng Yi is already showing signs that she wants to mate but her partner Fu Wa is not up for it yet.
Panda Conservation Centre's zoology and veterinary director Dr Mat Naim Ramli said Feng Yi had been continuously making mating calls and showing signs that she was ready.
"However, whether they mate or not depends on the male,'' Dr Mat Naim said.
"Feng Yi wants to mate but Fu Wa has yet to show interest.
"The problem with Fu Wa is his libido. As Fu Wa was born in captivity, he has to learn how to breed,'' he said
"He needs more time and training for this," he told reporters at the newly-built centre in Zoo Negara here on Friday.
The two giant pandas, housed in the zoo since Wednesday, are on loan to Malaysia for 10 years to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China.
The pandas, both eight years of age, are being quarantined for a month before they are available for public viewing.
Dr Mat Naim said last year, Fu Wa was placed with females to observe his behaviour in the mating ritual. "He did not know how to do it... He tried but there was no penetration."
The doctor said a female panda was productive for 72 hours a year and this week was Feng Yi's fertility period.
"If they do not mate this year, we will try again next year," he said.
Dr Mat Naim said the pandas were adapting well to their new home and were each fed 30kg of bamboo daily.
"The pandas seem to have taken a liking to a type of Malaysian bamboo called buluh betung as they always finish it," he said.
Zoo Negara's deputy president Rosly Rahmat Ahmat Lana said the zoo received about 700,000 visitors a year and this number was expected to shoot to one million with the arrival of the pandas.
"To enter the panda centre, Malaysian adults will be charged RM20 (S$7.80) while tickets for children are RM10 each," he said. Tickets for adult foreigners are RM30 while children are charged RM15 each.
At another event, Natural Resource and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel hit out at those who criticised the RM60 million cost borne by the Government in the panda deal.
"Many countries have pandas, even Singapore. The panda deal is the result of 40 years of strong bilateral relationship between Malaysia and China," he said.