It’s not always a good idea to pair up friends

Kate Livingstone. New background.
Kate Livingstone. New background.

I felt so sorry for Sunshine the panda this week. After all the excitement leading up to the mating window with his female companion Sweetie (Tian Tian), Sunshine (Yang Guang) was left out in the cold for another year.

They look like such a lovely couple too, so made for each other, don’t they? However, Sweetie was having none of it as her mating call had more ‘bark’ than ‘come in for a coffee’ according to the experts monitoring the gorgeous pair.

Yang Guang had shown “consistently encouraging behaviour” towards Tian Tian and the pictures I saw just melted my heart.

He was ‘limbering up’ for the time of his life by doing handstands and scent-marking his enclosure, demonstrating his virility.

This was basically just showing off in front of the woman he fancies, something idiotic men do all the time, but Sunshine’s antics were just more natural, more primal and a whole lot more cuter.

You can’t fault Sunshine’s efforts either and he was literally building himself up for his big night(s) of passion by eating almost three times the amount of bamboo he normally does.

He was also seen gazing lovingly, then forlornly, into Sweetie’s enclosure as it seemed his love would go unrequited.

My friends and I were on high alert right throughout the process, texting each other with updates and
 just hoping they’d get together.

But, alas, it just wasn’t to be. Female pandas are only in season for breeding for 72 hours a year and that window passed at the start of the week meaning she had to be artificially inseminated.

The pandas have been such a hit with the Scottish public that Edinburgh Zoo is now the second most popular visitor attraction in the country.

I can only wonder what would have happened if the pair had actually got together, but maybe this week’s events are for the best.

I’ve set up two friends together before and it ended in disaster so maybe nature took its course for a good reason.