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Love in air for panda pair at Berlin Zoo

Meng Meng arrived in Berlin in 2017, at the same time as eight-year-old male panda Jiao Qing, but the pair have always been kept in separate neighbouring enclosures.

Female pandas are only fertile every two to three years, and for just 72 hours, so officials had to act fast. After being introduced first through glass enclosures on Friday, Meng Meng and Jiao Qing had their first real “date”.

Zookeeper Norbert Zahmel described it as a “nice situation” although Jiao Qing did get into some trouble for acting a little too fresh.

Headstrong Meng Meng is known for the habit of walking backwards, a rebellious response to things she doesn’t like, zookeepers have previously said.

The black and white bears, loaned to Germany from China, are a show of “panda diplomacy”. China only allows the furry ambassadors to be hosted in countries where it has strong relations.

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