Female panda artificially inseminated at Edinburgh zoo

Last Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 - 18:05

London: Scientists have artificially inseminated UK`s only female giant panda at Edinburgh zoo, after she seemed unwilling to mate with a male partner.
A specialist team and experts from around the world performed artificial insemination on female giant panda Tian Tian yesterday, the zoo has announced.

Despite the male panda, Yang Guang, having shown "consistently encouraging behaviour" natural mating was not attempted.

"Based on his many years` experience, our Chinese colleague Professor Wang felt that although Tian Tian had displayed all of the correct behaviours, she had also displayed signs that told him she would not be conducive to mating," a zoo spokeswoman said.

The procedures went very much to plan and giant pandas are both well, the spokeswoman said.

The announcement follows a week after Tian Tian`s hormones showed she was approaching her 36-hour fertile period.

Scientists had been monitoring Tian Tian and signs that she was nearing mating season included grumpy behaviour and loss of appetite.

Keepers had been hopeful that the pair would mate naturally but Tian Tian would also have been artificially inseminated to increase her chances of getting pregnant.

The pandas Tian Tian (Sweetie) and Yang Guang (Sunshine) were acquired by the zoo from China in 2011.

Throughout the past week the zoo swapped the pandas between enclosures in an effort to prepare them for mating.

They were also able to interact with a grate keeping them apart, BBC News reported.

If Tian Tian does becomes pregnant, confirmation will come in mid-July when experts can give her an ultrasound scan. It would then be likely that her cub, or cubs, are born at the end of August or the beginning of September.

The normal breeding season for pandas is mid-April to May.

PTI



First Published: Monday, April 22, 2013 - 18:04

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