Early today a summit conference at the National Zoo will ponder what to do now to get Ling-Ling (the zoo's female panda) properly bred. And, hold your breath, it may not be that fancy visiting panda from London (who was supposed to be such hot stuff) but old Hsing-Hsing, the boy next door.
"The pandas were not put together today," said Ilene Ackerman last night from the zoo, "because Ling-Ling was still quite sore."
This wonderful hotshot from London beat the tar out of her on Wednesday, by way of "asserting dominance," and poor Ling-Ling has a number of "bites and abrasions, nothing serious" to remember him by.
Nothing serious. Well, it isn't Ling-Ling who thinks the bites and abrasions are trifling things, you will notice.
Yesterday, after she seemed to be perking up a bit, they let her glimpse the London panda.
"She growled sharply at him," said Ackerman, " and he growled back. Then they let her see Hsing-Hsing, her old partner, and she began bleating and chirping at him, and he bleated to her."
Pandas bleat when they are attracted to each other.
Beats knocking her down, it may turn out.