Chia-Chia, the London panda visiting the National Zoo with fatherhood in mind (or at least one hopes so), is "setting in" admirably, though he has not yet seen his intended, the fair Ling-Ling.
In due time, said the director, Dr. Theodore Reed, the two pandas will view each other from their outdoor runs, but the Londoner has not been out yet. Still later, toward the end of April perhaps, they will breed, perhaps.
Panda breeding in zoos is not, after all, a good occupation for those hot for certainties.
Reed said the next crisis will be the breeding. Then the conception and pregnancy, then the birth, then the raising of the small beast to maturity.
At the Mexico City zoo, a baby panda was killed when its mother sat on it. That will not happen here, Reed trusts, since a closed-circuit television system will monitor the mother with her infant at all times, for many days after birth.
Meanwhile, although many visitors have been disappointed not to see Chia-Chia ("he sleeps a lot, and pandas have the right to sleep whenever they please"), many visitors have been inspired to reflect, muse and even commit poetry, as in a pretty immortal verse by G. Hubert Romans of Arlington:
In the zoo is a nice little panda With a boyfriend who just couldn't standa, But an import from Britain Quite obviously smitten Said he'll do the best that he canda.