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Panda ultrasound hints cub is on the way at Berlin Zoo

The panda pregnancy is 85% certain, according to experts.

A panda undergoing an ultrasound scan (Zoo Berlin)
A panda undergoing an ultrasound scan (Zoo Berlin)

By Alistair Mason, PA

A panda at Berlin Zoo might give birth to a cub this month after an ultrasound scan suggested she could be pregnant.

The ultrasound performed on Meng Meng was one of a range of tests carried out at Berlin Zoo and, although the results are not conclusive, staff are “around 85% sure that Meng Meng is actually expecting”.

Meng Meng has been showing signs of pregnancy since she and her mate Jiao Qing were brought together at the zoo in April.

Experts from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) have observed increased lethargy, changes in her uterus and an increased level of progesterone, which all suggest she is likely to be expecting, but they remain wary that it could be a phantom pregnancy.

Professor Thomas Hildebrandt, head of the reproduction management department at IZW, said: “The most recent test on August 14 showed that Meng Meng’s ovaries are activated, her uterus is much larger, and a small bulge is visible that could be one or two embryos.

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The ultrasound performed on Meng Meng the panda appears to show she is pregnant (Zoo Berlin)

“Although phantom pregnancies are relatively common in giant pandas, at the moment we are around 85% sure that Meng Meng is actually expecting.”

Experts are now on the lookout for an increase in prostaglandin, which would confirm the pregnancy.

If Meng Meng is indeed pregnant, the youngster is expected to arrive later this month or early September.

PA

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