Post by Richard Gray, Science Correspondent for The Telegraph
They are notorious for being the most unsuccessful breeders in the animal kingdom and many attempts to save the giant panda from extinction by mating them in captivity have ended in failure.
New research that has provided fresh insight into how they communicate could, however, make mating the rare mammals in zoos and sanctuaries easier.
Biologists have found that female giant pandas advertise their fertility to potential suitors by subtly changing the calls they make.
The researchers found that chirps produced by female pandas change over their fertility cycle and that male pandas can detect these changes.
It is believed that the chirps allow the animals to time their mating in the wild to the precise point when the female’s fertility is highest, increasing the chance of her getting pregnant and producing a cub.