National Zoo keeping watch for panda pregnancy

July 26, 2013

(AP)—Scientists at the Smithsonian's National Zoo say the female giant panda's hormones are rising, which indicates she may be pregnant or experiencing a false pregnancy.

Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) was artificially inseminated twice on March 30 after failing to breed naturally with male panda Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN). A Chinese panda expert performed the inseminations with scientists.

The zoo says its panda team is monitoring Mei Xiang closely and conducting ultrasounds to look for a possible fetus. The pregnancy or so-called "pseudopregnancy" should end in 40 to 55 days.

Recently, Mei Xiang has begun nest building. The zoo says that's consistent with her rising hormones.

Mei Xiang has given birth to two cubs. A week-old female cub died last September. Her surviving cub Tai Shan was born in 2005.

Explore further: Pandas mate with help at the National Zoo

Related Stories

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.

US zoo cites liver disease in baby panda's death

October 11, 2012

Veterinary pathologists on Thursday blamed liver disease brought on by insufficient oxygen for the sudden death of a six-day-old baby panda born at the National Zoo in Washington last month.

Recommended for you

A village of bacteria to help frogs fight disease

October 7, 2015

The naturally occurring bacteria on a frog's skin could be the most important tool for helping the animal fight off a deadly skin disease, according to an experiment conducted by Virginia Tech researchers.

Research reveals new clues about how humans become tool users

October 7, 2015

New research from the University of Georgia department of psychology gives researchers a unique glimpse at how humans develop an ability to use tools in childhood while nonhuman primates—such as capuchin monkeys and chimpanzees—remain ...


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.