The possibility of a panda being born at Edinburgh Zoo has alerted panda lovers around the world . The female giant panda has been artificially inseminated.
The zoo is also going to try to mate the pandas naturally before the end of the short breeding season.
Edinburgh Zoo acquired the pandas on loan from China in 2011 and previous attempts to mate the pair have failed.
Tian Tian, which means Sweetie, and male Yang Guang (Sunshine) were the first giant pandas to live in the UK for 17 years.
The last pandas in the UK, Ming Ming and Bao Bao, left a zoo in London in 1994 after failing to mate.
Iain Valentine, director of giant pandas for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said artificial insemination took place on Tian Tian in the early hours of Thursday.
“The procedure was carried out by the expert team of three veterinarians at RZSS, alongside Chinese colleague Doctor Wang Chengdong from the China Conservation and Research Centre for Giant Pandas (CCRCGP),” he said.
“Only semen from male panda Yang Guang was used during the procedure.
“Natural mating will also be attempted today before the short breeding window comes to a close this afternoon (Thursday) as both pandas remain extremely interested in one another, but as Tian Tian’s transition to peak was so rapid it was a priority to move straight to artificial insemination first.”
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