Edinburgh Zoo has said it will attempt to breed its giant pandas again next year after confirming female Tian Tian is no longer pregnant.
Tian Tian’s hormones have returned to normal and it is likely that a reabsorption of the foetus occurred, the zoo said. Keepers described it as “devastating” news and said the breeding programme will continue.
Iain Valentine, director of giant pandas for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: “Tian Tian still needs to get back into a routine which will take a few months and then from about the shortest day we will start to monitor her again for breeding. There’s still lots of work to do but hopefully next year it will all come together.”
He added: “There’s a lot of new science we’ve brought to panda breeding and we’ve learnt a huge amount from the last two years and every time we go through this we learn more and take another step forward.”
Tian Tian, the UK’s only giant female panda, has been closely monitored since she was artificially inseminated on April 13. The zoo stepped in after she and her intended partner Yang Guang failed to mate naturally. Previous data suggested she was pregnant and likely carry to full term, however hopes of a cub faded when she passed her due date. Both pandas are said to be in good health and the outdoor viewing area of their enclosures have now been reopened to the public.