Edinburgh Zoo’s giant panda could be pregnant with second cub, keepers say
A giant panda at Edinburgh Zoo could be pregnant for a second time, her keepers have announced.
Tian Tian, who gave birth once before in China in 2007, was artificially inseminated under expert veterinary care in recent days.
Officials at the zoo said the procedure went well and that the 80kg bear “is in good health”, but warned that “it is too early to know if she is pregnant”.
Her male companion at Edinburgh Zoo, Yang Guang, is unable to mate with her since the removal of his testicles in November 2018 due to the presence of tumours.
Instead, Hualong, a panda from the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP), was chosen as a good genetic match for Tian Tian.
The 17-year-old has gone through several unsuccessful rounds of artificial insemination at Edinburgh Zoo in recent years, but keepers said they were “keeping our fingers crossed” for her this time.
Giant panda females can often experience pseudopregnancies - making it difficult for keepers to assess their condition.
Classed as a vulnerable species, there are fewer than 2,000 giant pandas left in the wild, and their habitat is in decline.
Tian Tian and Yang Guang are currently the only Giant Pandas anywhere in the UK - on a 10-year loan from the Bifengxia Breeding Centre in China.
A spokesperson for Edinburgh Zoo said: “It really would be incredible for her to experience being a mother again.
“We will only know for certain that Tian Tian is pregnant if she gives birth later this year.”