UK & World News

  • 12 August 2014, 10:32

Panda Tian Tian Expecting, Says Edinburgh Zoo

It looks as though Tian Tian the panda is pregnant and may give birth at the end of this month, Edinburgh Zoo says.

The female half of the panda duo - Yang Guang is the male - is spending more and more time asleep, according to officials at the zoo.

They have been watching her since she was artificially inseminated on April 13.

Iain Valentine, director of pandas at the zoo, said: "The latest scientific data suggests Tian Tian the giant panda is now pregnant and that implantation has taken place; therefore, she may give birth at the end of the month.

"This is all very new and complex science and we still have a bit of time to go yet, as like last year, the late loss of a cub remains entirely possible."

The zoo's live webcam says Tian Tian is unlikely to be seen in the lead up to a possible birth.

"She is experiencing an increase in progesterone levels, which she will experience whether pregnant or pseudo pregnant, and this gives her a lack of appetite and make her very sleepy," it reports.

"If she is pregnant, it is important we actively encourage her to spend as much time as possible in her off show den, where her cubbing box is, as this is the ideal area for her to give birth in."

Tian Tian, whose name means Sweetie and Yang Guang - Sunshine - arrived at Edinburgh Zoo in 2011 on loan from China for a decade.

She was expecting last year but lost the cub late on in the pregnancy.

Pregnancy in pandas is notoriously difficult to predict so it will only be known for sure if and when Tian Tian gives birth.

Two colleagues from China are due to travel to Scotland within days, the zoo said.