UK & World News

  • 15 April 2014, 11:01

Bashful Pandas Get IVF Boost At Edinburgh Zoo

Tian Tian, the UK's only female giant panda, has been artificially inseminated because she and male panda Yang Guang do not seem to be interested in each other.

Edinburgh Zoo bosses had hoped that the two would get together naturally this year when Tian Tian was at her most fertile but they were unsuccessful in getting them to mate.

On Sunday, specialists took matters into their own hands after her hormone levels started to fall quickly and she was artificially insemination. 

Edinburgh Zoo director Iain Valentine said: "From the start, when the pandas started to show breeding behaviour early this spring, both were showing very positive signs.

"We were hopeful natural mating would occur this year, but in the end Tian Tian's hormones started to fall quickly, which meant her breeding window could be much shorter.

"Although our Chinese expert, Dr Wang Chengdong from the China Conservation and Research Centre for Giant Pandas, was confident the pair would mate naturally, after the first unsuccessful introduction attempt, time restrictions meant we needed to move quickly to artificial insemination."

Experts said they will not know for certain whether or not the insemination was successful until - and if - Tian Tian gives birth, which could be in August or September.

Tian Tian was also artificially inseminated last year, but she lost her foetus late on in the pregnancy.

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