Pondering a panda pregnancy

Patrice Gainsbourg
Agosto 25, 2017

A spokesperson at Edinburgh Zoo said: "Giant panda breeding is a very complicated process but we believe that Tian Tian is pregnant".

"Although a specific date was suggested, like all babies, it's hard to predict precisely and the panda breeding season can last until late September".

The happy announcement comes after years of repeated failed attempts to get Tian Tian pregnant.

News of the pregnancy came to light after documents were released to the Edinburgh Evening News under the Freedom of Information Act.

"As things are at the moment, she seems on track but I have shifted possible birth date to around 25th August".

"So she is about 30 days out now and pregnancy proper has now begun in what we think is a 37 day pregnancy".

It appears that there might be a pitter patter of panda paws this year - perhaps.

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Tian Tian (Sweetie) and Yang Guang (Sunshine) are the only giant pandas living in the UK.

The pair arrived on loan from China in December 2011 for a period of 10 years.

Artificial insemination was attempted for a fifth time after the zoo's male panda Yang Guang was unreceptive to natural mating.

In 2012, the pandas were brought together for the first time in a "love tunnel" when Tian Tian was ready to reproduce.

If the panda gives birth to a cub it is likely to be returned to China at the age of two - the age at which it would usually become independent in the wild. Their fetuses are tiny and hard to detect, and the animals also experience "pseudo-pregnancies" during which behavior and hormonal changes indicate they are pregnant even when they are not.

"So to sum up, she is believed to be pregnant, but don't raise your expectations too far".

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