At Ouwehands Zoo in the Netherlands, the news stunned the team. Fan Xing, the first giant panda born in the Netherlands two years ago, is actually not a male… but a female. This discovery took place after a routine medical examination carried out on the animal, two years after the sex determination in 2020.
The news was announced on television Thursday evening. “Fan Xing surprised us. For us, sex was a fact that we wanted to check during the control examination under anesthesia, just to be sure,” explained José Kok, zoological director of the animal park.
A panda trained to breed as a male
A few months after her birth, on May 1, 2020, Fan Xing had undergone a short medical examination without anesthesia, which had to be done as soon as possible to reunite the child with her mother. But determining the gender of a giant panda is a very difficult task, explained José Kok, especially in a struggling baby. “We were so convinced it was a male, so we never doubted it,” she said still stunned on the OP1 talk show.
Like all of its male panda companions, the animal has received special training at the zoo to strengthen its hind legs so that it can perform its role as a breeding male in future matings. “This female will therefore have strong hind legs,” joked José Kok.
This surprise does not change anything for Fan Xing’s health and his mission, the zoo assured. The animal will soon be sent back to China as planned as part of an international breeding program. Fan Xing is the result of a natural conception of a pair of giant pandas loaned in 2017 by China to the Netherlands for a period of 15 years.