Edinburgh Zoo: ‘Panda birth may be two weeks away’

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PANDA experts have announced that the due date for the birth of Edinburgh Zoo’s Giant Panda cub could in fact be another two weeks away.

Staff at Edinburgh Zoo have been on red alert for the arrival of a new cub for the past fortnight leading the world’s media to flock to the Capital.

Giant Panda Tian Tian may give birth anytime now although Zoo officials cannot yet confirm if she is pregnant.

Giant Panda Tian Tian may give birth anytime now although Zoo officials cannot yet confirm if she is pregnant.

However, while previous estimated suggested Tian Tian could go into labour on Tuesday, it has now been revealed that any birth may be up to a fortnight away.

A spokeswoman for Edinburgh Zoo said: “In terms of Tian Tian’s possible pregnancy, we’re not out of the game yet although she’s keeping us on our toes. Her hormones are following an atypical pattern, with lots of rises and dips, which make timings much harder to predict.

“We are continually analysing hormone and protein samples and, based on the latest results, our external experts now believe Tian Tian may have experienced her secondary progesterone spike two weeks later than the results previously available suggested.

She added: “Predicting pregnancy in giant pandas isn’t straight forward and we’re all rapidly learning that Tian Tian is a panda whose behaviour and physiology appears to be more complicated than most. We are continuing to review results with international colleagues through the course of this week who are joining us for our Giant Panda Research Symposium.”

Last week male panda Yang Guang went into hiding, which experts said was consistent with a reaction to Tian Tian’s raised hormone levels while Tian Tian has also chosen to hide away for the majority of recent weeks, and is described as off her food, moody and showing signs of “nesting” behaviour.