Pandas mate with help at the National Zoo

March 24, 2008

U.S. veterinarians have artificially inseminated Mei Xiang, a female giant panda at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, after natural mating was unsuccessful.

Zoo staff said they carefully observed each attempted mating between Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, a male giant panda, and when satisfactory mating did not occur, veterinarians performed a non-surgical artificial insemination last Wednesday. Both pandas were anesthetized, allowing scientists to collect sperm from Tian Tian and insert it directly into Mei Xiang's uterus.

Giant pandas have one very brief breeding season per year, with only a day or two of actual mating.

Zoo staff members said the pandas will remain separated for the next few months until Mei Xiang either delivers a cub, or until scientists determine she is not pregnant. Keeping the pandas apart will reduce the risk of increased stress hormone levels in Mei Xiang, which could jeopardize ovulation, conception and implantation, officials said.

Veterinarians will monitor Mei Xiang's hormone levels and perform ultrasounds to determine whether she becomes pregnant.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Explore further: US zoo pandas get $4.5 million gift

Related Stories

US zoo pandas get $4.5 million gift

September 19, 2015

An American benefactor has donated $4.5 million for the giant panda conservation program at the US National Zoo, where twin cubs were born last month.

'It's a boy,' US zoo says of surviving panda

August 28, 2015

The newly arrived baby panda in Washington is male, zoo authorities said Friday, a week after the tiny creature was born along with a twin brother who later died.

Recommended for you

The dark side of Nobel prizewinning research

October 4, 2015

Think of the Nobel prizes and you think of groundbreaking research bettering mankind, but the awards have also honoured some quite unhumanitarian inventions such as chemical weapons, DDT and lobotomies.

Internet giants race to faster mobile news apps

October 4, 2015

US tech giants are turning to the news in their competition for mobile users, developing new, faster ways to deliver content, but the benefits for struggling media outlets remain unclear.

Trade in invasive plants is blossoming

October 3, 2015

Every day, hundreds of different plant species—many of them listed as invasive—are traded online worldwide on auction platforms. This exacerbates the problem of uncontrollable biological invasions.

Fusion reactors 'economically viable' say experts

October 2, 2015

Fusion reactors could become an economically viable means of generating electricity within a few decades, and policy makers should start planning to build them as a replacement for conventional nuclear power stations, according ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Mar 25, 2008
We ought to confirm that the article
was in error, when it states that
sperm were introduced into the
uterus. In human medical practice,
this must never be done! The result
catastrophe could be an anaphylactic
response! "sperm, yes, seminal
fluid: NO!" Pandas are not people ..
yes, but i do hope attention was given
to this possible consequence!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.