On its face, it seems unlikely that any report of behavior in the Washington region can be more poignant than a statement the National Zoo released on Monday about the recent activities of its two giant pandas.
It said that the breeding period of the female, Mei Xiang, was finished. But, the zoo said, that was not yet true of the male, Tian Tian. And usually in the afternoons, the zoo said, Tian Tian will peer in the windows between his yard and Mei Xiang’s.
The zoo said he was “probably looking for her.”
For males, according to the zoo, that season of desire typically begins in November and concludes in June.
But female giant pandas, the zoo says, spend only 24 to 72 hours yearly in a state in which they can become pregnant.
In those brief hours of opportunity, at 9 p.m. on March 28, the zoo inseminated Mei Xiang artificially.
As expected, no indications have yet emerged regarding the result of the procedure. So at the zoo, it is a time of waiting, and of preparing Mei Xiang for tests to determine whether a new cub is forthcoming.
And, it is also maybe a time for Tian Tian to look into the window and think panda thoughts.