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Edinburgh Zoo panda artificially inseminated in new pregnancy attempt

Tian Tian, the UK’s only female giant panda, was given her annual health check on Sunday.

Edinburgh Zoo’s giant panda Tian Tian (Danny Lawson/PA)
Edinburgh Zoo’s giant panda Tian Tian (Danny Lawson/PA)

The UK’s only female giant panda has been artificially inseminated in a new attempt to produce a cub.

Tian Tian was given her annual health check at Edinburgh Zoo on Sunday with a fresh bid made “under expert veterinary care”.

Giant Panda Update – 1/4/19 If you are visiting Edinburgh Zoo today please note that the giant panda outdoor walkway...

Posted by Edinburgh Zoo on Monday, April 1, 2019

A Facebook post from the zoo suggested it was “far too early” to speculate about the chances of success.

It said: “Tian Tian had her annual health check yesterday and was artificially inseminated under expert veterinary care.

“We are pleased to say that all went well.

“It is of course far too early to say anything about the chances of breeding success at this very early stage.”

The update also noted the outdoor walkway at the zoo would “be open as normal, however, the indoor viewing area will remain closed”.

It comes after researchers planned to focus on the animals’ mating process last year to improve the chances of future efforts.

Tian Tian previously had cubs in China but not in the UK, where she and male companion Yang Guang arrived in 2011.

A natural breeding attempt was made in in 2012 with artificial insemination used instead each year between 2013 and 2017.

Tian Tian was believed to be pregnant in August 2017 but her hormone levels and behaviour later returned to normal.

Last November, Yang Guang also recovered from surgery to remove both testicles after tumours were found – but the zoo said this was not a factor in previous failed attempts.

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), which runs the zoo, said the sperm used was from a panda in the Chinese panda breeding programme.

PA

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