Edinburgh Zoo giant pandas fail to mate

The pandas seemed happy to wrestle with each other, but did not take things further

Related Stories

Edinburgh Zoo's two giant pandas have spent a second day in a "series of encounters" but have failed to mate.

Officials at the zoo said Tian Tian and Yang Guang had shown interest in each other but had not taken things further.

The zoo said if Tian Tian's hormones are still partially elevated, the pandas may be put together for one last time early on Thursday morning.

But hopes were fading that a baby panda would be born in Scotland this year.

Female pandas ovulate just once a year, with only a 36-hour window in which they can get pregnant.

Panda pregnancies can last for anything between 85 and 100 days.

The zoo has confirmed it will not use artificial insemination if the pandas fail to mate successfully this year.

Tian Tian and Yang Guang had been kept in separate enclosures since arriving in Scotland in December.

Start Quote

Both were keen to mate, but their inexperience showed”

End Quote Iain Valentine Edinburgh Zoo

Based on a combination of hormone testing and behavioural observation over several weeks, experts at the zoo decided that this week was the right time for the pandas to meet.

Edinburgh Zoo's director of conservation, Iain Valentine, said that when the animals were brought together in the same enclosure there had been a "huge amount of eagerness and attraction" between them.

But he said full mating did not occur, despite the fact that both pandas had bred before and had borne cubs with other mates.

Mr Valentine said the attempt to mate the pair was a ten-year project and that this year's interaction had been a "fantastic trial run."

He added: "There was lots of vocalisation and encouragement from our female and physical contact between the two.

"Although both have bred before and have borne cubs with other pandas, they are both still relatively inexperienced.

"At the end of the day, this is year one of a ten year conservation project here at Edinburgh Zoo. We are hugely encouraged by how much the natural sparks flew between the two animals, as like humans, not all male and female pandas are attracted to each other. Both were keen to mate, but their inexperience showed.

"Baby cubs would have been a bonus this year, but we have to appreciate that the pandas have only just arrived and have had limited time to settle."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Edinburgh, Fife and East

Weather

Edinburgh

Min. Night 14 °C

Features & Analysis

  • Stained glass of man with swordFrance 1 England 0

    The most important battle you have probably never heard of


  • Golden retriever10 things

    Dogs get jealous, and nine more nuggets from the week's news


  • Pro-Israel demonstrators shout slogans while protesting in Berlin - 25 July 2014Holocaust guilt

    Gaza conflict leaves Germans confused over who to support


  • The emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-SabahFreedoms fear

    Growing concern for rights as Kuwait revokes citizenships


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • CastleRoyal real estate

    No longer reserved for kings and queens, some find living in a castle simply divine

Programmes

  • Leader of Hamas Khaled MeshaalHARDtalk Watch

    BBC exclusive: Hamas leader on the eagerness to end bloodshed in Gaza

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.