In the next few months, giant panda Ying Ying will get her pick of any stud. But Le Le, her partner at Ocean Park, will not be one of them. Ying Ying is expected to be in heat soon but, with Le Le not yet sexually mature, experts from Ocean Park and the Wolong giant panda research facility in Sichuan province are exploring the possibility of artificially inseminating her with semen from a suitable male, Ocean Park chief executive Tom Mehrmann said. Wolong researchers maintain a stud book detailing each sample of semen collected from males. This information helps determine which female giant panda should be impregnated with which male's sperm. Hopes have been high the pair would become parents later this year when they turn five, the age when giant pandas usually become sexually mature. But with only a very narrow window when Ying Ying is in heat and Le Le at least a year from being sexually active, artificial insemination appears likely. Proponents of artificial insemination claim the practice helps preserve the giant panda population's diversity and differences by managing the gene pool. Breeding captive giant pandas naturally is a very exhausting and delicate process as the male and female are put together and separated over three days. If the giant pandas do not mate when they are brought together again on the third day, they can become aggressive towards each other. Giant pandas are notoriously shy and solitary and males are not known for their sex drive. Female pandas produce eggs about once a year and are fertile for only one or two days. In July last year, You You made history by becoming the first giant panda in the world to give birth to a cub after being artificially inseminated with frozen semen. The breakthrough in the use of semen frozen for several years marks a huge step forward in artificial insemination by vastly expanding the mating pool for pandas in captivity. This means male giant pandas that are genetically valuable or important can continue their lineage after death since semen can technically last forever if stored in liquid nitrogen. The growing giant panda family at Ocean Park will complement plans for exhibitions featuring Yangtze River sea life and Australian wildlife. A new Chinese sturgeon aquarium will open in June featuring 10 of the endangered and protected species and eventually all forms of life found in the Yangtze River. The longest river on the mainland is home to many underwater species such as dolphins. Hundreds of Chinese paddlefish, the world's largest freshwater fish, used to make their home in the river but none have been spotted since 2003. Similarly, a new habitat at Ocean Park will house a pair of young koalas. In February, it was announced that two koalas, a male and a female, will be delivered within the next two years as a gift from the South Australian state government. The plan is to eventually include other types of Australian wildlife as exhibits.