Giving Pandas a Leg Up
Some captive male pandas in China will soon be given the anti-impotence drug Viagra to boost their sex drive in an attempt to save the species from extinction. Scientists have tried a number of other methods to lift the animals’ sagging libidos, including traditional Chinese medicine, but most efforts to breed the animals in captivity have failed. According to the Beijing Youth Daily newspaper, “The male panda can only mate for 10 to 20 seconds at a time, and hence the chances of getting the female pregnant are very low. With Viagra, the male could mate for up to 20 minutes.” Scientists are also working on a project to clone panda embryos with the intention of artificially implanting them in a living panda’s womb. Poaching and habitat loss have reduced the population of giant pandas to just 1,000, and many worry that extinction may be around the corner.