Edinburgh panda Tian Tian artificially inseminated

Tian Tian has been artificially inseminated. Picture: Neil Hanna

Tian Tian has been artificially inseminated. Picture: Neil Hanna

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ARTIFICIAL insemination has been carried out on Edinburgh Zoo’s giant panda Tian Tian.

Iain Valentine, the Director of Giant Pandas for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: “Artificial insemination took place in the early hours of Thursday 26 March 2015.

“The procedure was carried out by the expert team of three veterinarians at RZSS, alongside Chinese colleague Doctor Wang Chengdong from the China Conservation and Research Centre for Giant Pandas.

“Only semen from male panda Yang Guang was used during the procedure.”

The Zoo also confirmed that natural mating would be attempted before the breeding window ends later today.

Mr Valentine added: “Both pandas remain extremely interested in one another, but as Tian Tian’s transition to peak was so rapid it was a priority to move straight to AI first.”

Tian Tian’s behaviour changed yesterday around 5pm, after spending most of the day remaining ‘very quiet and sleepy’, the Zoo said, but the results of hormone tests carried out on the panda revealed that ovulation had occurred.

Mr Valentine explained: “As each individual panda is different and their pattern can vary from year to year, this is why we start hormone monitoring via urine samples so early and continually observe our female as the window approaches.”

Tian Tian is reportedly doing ‘very well’, with everything going according to plan.

The Zoo expect the panda enclosure to remain closed to visitors until Sunday 29 March.

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