Helping Nature Along: Breeding Giant Pandas
Photo: Jessie Cohen/Smithsonian's National Zoo
Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing
Giant pandas Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing were the first pair sent to the U.S in April 1972. After more than a decade of trial and error, the couple mated for the first time and Ling-Ling gave birth to her first cub in July 1983. During their 20 years living at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, they produced five cubs, but none of the cubs lived longer than a few days.
The mortality rate for giant pandas in their first year is high: 26 percent for males and 20 percent for females, according to the National Zoo.