Giant pandas in China break record for longest mating session

Lu Lui and Xi Mei mated for just over 18 minutes

A video has emerged of two pandas engaged in the longest mating session on record.

Giant pandas Lu Lu and Xi Mei, who currently reside in the Sichuan Giant Panda Research Center in China, mated for nearly twenty minutes this week.

The 18 minute three second feat has been broadcast on China Network Television's iPanda website, which shows videos of pandas at the centre.

The pair’s stamina was particularly outstanding considering the species normally only mate for less than a minute and are notoriously lacking in libido.

It will take another two months before researchers can ascertain if the female panda is pregnant.

The dream match might never have happened, however, if Xi Mei had not rejected potential partner, Yi Bao, earlier in the week.

According to the iPanda site on YouTube: “Xi Mei was first set up with male giant panda Yi Bao, but two pandas failed to mate.

“Later, Xi Mei was placed together with male giant panda Lu Lu. This matchmaking arrangement is quite successful, and the pair Xi Mei and Lu Lu ended up mating naturally.”

Hopes were not as high for another of the centre's potential couples; Kai Kai and Jia Jia have shown little affection towards each other, although, Kai Kai was reported as being "slightly more" interested last September.

As has been widely reported, pandas' lack of interest in mating coupled with their short reproductive window of 48 to 72 hours from March to May each year, means that the species is struggling to survive.

It is thought there are only 1,600 pandas left in the wild.