Giant panda Ai Hin, who lives at the Chengdu Breeding Research Center in China, was scheduled to be the star of the first live-broadcast of a panda birth. That endeavor quickly came to a halt, however, when the center's staff discovered she wasn't actually pregnant.
AFP suggests that Ai Hin "tricked" the staff members at the breeding center, which is in the Sichuana province of southwest China, into giving her "extra treats and nicer accommodation." After showing signs of pregnancy, including eating less and moving less, Ai Hin was moved to an air-conditioned room. But when Ai Hin's behavioral and physiological indexes returned to their levels before the symptoms began, the scientists realized she wasn't pregnant.
"They receive more buns, fruits, and bamboo, so some clever pandas have used this to their advantage to improve their quality of life," Wu Kongju, an employee at the panda base, told Chinese state news agency Xinhua. Xinhua also stated that so-called phantom pregnancies are "common" among the endangered bears when they discover they can get special treatment for exhibiting certain behaviors.