Panda is artificially inseminated at Edinburgh Zoo

Staff at Edinburgh Zoo are hoping it will be third time lucky after giant panda Tian Tian was artificially inseminated

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The giant Panda Tian Tian has been artificially inseminated by staff at Edinburgh Zoo.

The process was carried out on Sunday after attempts to bring her together with male partner, Yang Guang, failed.

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland said her hormone levels began falling before natural mating occurred.

Sperm from only Yang Guang was used. Last year Tian Tian was inseminated three times using samples from Yang Guang and another panda Bao Bao.

Bao Bao's sperm was frozen before he died in Berlin Zoo in 2012, aged 34.

Positive signs

Iain Valentine, Director of Giant Pandas for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) said: "Although it often varies from year to year and from panda to panda, this spring Tian Tian came into oestrus 13 days after the crucial hormone crossover, whilst last year she took us to day 14.

Tian Tian Tian Tian's hormone levels began falling before natural mating occurred

"From the start, when the pandas started to show breeding behaviour early this spring, both were showing very positive signs.

"We were hopeful natural mating would occur this year, but in the end Tian Tian's hormones started to fall quickly which meant her breeding window could be much shorter.

"The artificial insemination procedure was undertaken by reproduction specialists Professor Dr Thomas Hildebrandt, Dr Frank Göritz and Dr Robert Hermes, from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) in Berlin, along with RZSS's veterinary and panda teams. Samples were used from Yang Guang only.

"Both pandas recovered well from the procedure and were up and about shortly after. In fact Yang Guang was enjoying honey and bamboo some 15 minutes later."

The panda enclosure will remain closed to the public until Wednesday.

As giant pandas experience pseudo pregnancies and delayed implantation, it is "very likely" it will not be known if Tian Tian is pregnant until she gives birth. This can happen in August to September but can continue much later, as we saw last year."

John Robins, of Animal Concern, said: "Any sheep farmer would have told the zoo not to breed from poor breeding stock.

"If the idea is to return giant pandas to the wild is the zoo going to create a new breed line of pandas which need to be followed around in the Chinese forests by a team of international scientists armed with anaesthetic darts and buckets of frozen sperm?

"Instead of subjecting Tian Tian and Yang Guang to these invasive procedures every year Edinburgh Zoo should stop the breeding programme and use the pandas to educate visitors to the reality of extinction.

"It is too late for the giant panda but other animals can be saved if we act now to save their wild habitat."

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    16:36: Edinburgh Zoo reaction

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    Mr Valentine added: "I must stress, as there has been a lot in the news recently about pandas 'faking' it, that this was definitely not a pseudo or phantom pregnancy.

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  13.  
    16:20: Panda 'may have miscarried' James Cook Scotland Correspondent, BBC News

    Edinburgh Zoo say they fear that the UK's only female giant panda has suffered a miscarriage.

    Tian Tian

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    Tian Tian was artificially inseminated in April using a sample from the zoo's male Yang Guang, after attempts to persuade the pair to mate failed.

     
  14.  
    16:10: James Cook Scotland Correspondent, BBC News

    Edinburgh Zoo suggesting Tian Tian may have miscarried. #pandawatch

     
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    "Increasing numbers of people who had previously said they would be voting No are now saying Yes," he said.

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    Better Together leader Alistair Darling said the referendum was a test of "judgement over patriotism".

    Unveiled new campaign posters in Greenock, he added: "Our case to those who are undecided is that we believe the best future, for the love of our families, for the love of our children, for the love of our country, is as a proud and prosperous part of the United Kingdom."

     
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    #ScotlandLive 15:18: Poverty - your views

    Geoff Earl tweets: #ScotlandLive we have tried 2 bring change through the existing UK but our views are ignored by Westminster, time for a new approach YES.

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    James Martin in Glasgow, via email: We cannot work for better across Scotland if we do not have the powers to do so, or the financial levers to direct our money to achieve those goals for people. We do not have the powers to stop such nonsense as the bedroom tax, or those welfare cuts that are unjust. The UK has been the cause of the problems to date, how is it possibly the solution?

     
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  22.  
    15:03: Referendum library Andrew Black Political reporter, BBC Scotland

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    Read the papers here.

     
  23.  
    Email: newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk 14:55: Poverty - your views

    George Current from Edinburgh in reply to Hugh from Linlithgow on Scotland Live: Agree entirely. We are well up the ladder of devolution, which is a work in progress and has already more powers coming. It doesn't make sense to kick the ladder away and start again.

    David in Glasgow: Hugh from Linlithgow is deluded if he is seriously thinks radical change will ever happen with Westminster. Once we vote No, we have voted against our nationhood, why then should anyone anywhere take Scotland seriously? We will be the laughing stock of the world. Be brave people and vote Yes.

     
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  28.  
    14:06: Poverty - your views

    Alistair Murdoch in Kilbarchan, in reply to Hugh from Linlithgow: I am not SNP voter but I will vote Yes in the forthcoming referendum. I genuinely don't believe the majority of Yes voters believe that "becoming independent the ruling power will suddenly give them everything they want". There will no doubt be many challenges ahead to establishing a successful independent Scotland but this change will be best done through fair and democratic process from within Scotland. As long as Westminster remains the governing body there will be no appetite to significantly change anything for the better in Scotland. History has clearly demonstrated that being part of something bigger just isn't working for many Scots.

     
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    13:28: Rosyth shipyard visit

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    Email: newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk 12:28: Get involved

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  40.  
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  42.  
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  44.  
    10:43: Medical advice - your views

    Sheila Ferguson in reply to Lee Wootton on Scotland Live: A child with his parents cannot possibly count as abduction. They are his legal guardians. Everyone in the UK has the right to discharge themselves "AMA" - against medical advice. Do you want to take this right away? This case has got ridiculously out of hand. In the parents' eyes the doctors refused to give the child the optimal treatment for his cancer so they took him somewhere else to get it. How many charity appeals have you seen/given to - to take children to the US for instance - for "different" or "better" treatment?

     
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  46.  
    Email: newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk 10:27: Medical advice - your views

    Lee Wooton: Can I just point something out to all those who are complaining about "police state"? This child was taken from the hospital without asking, against medical advice across Europe to a medical service that's recognised as being of lower quality than the NHS. If the hospital had not raised the alarm, I guarantee that many of the people complaining about heavy handedness would be complaining about the NHS letting a chid be abducted. Can we please stop complaining about doctors and nurses who worry about the wellbeing of a child and and recognise that the parents had a hand in things getting this far.

     
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    10:10: Food and drink jobs hope

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  50.  
    Text 80295 10:01: Medical advice - your views

    Norrie: We are fast becoming a Police State - chasing parents who did nothing wrong in taking their child out of hospital AND routinely arming police officers on our streets without the consent of the people. This has to stop.

    Patricia: Let this family be with this little confused little boy. What if this little boy dies without his family being with him - who will be responsible for this? This family were living in the moment of hope.

    Moira: It is easy to demonise doctors and the NHS because we want them to get it right every time. Resources and knowledge are finite and sometimes bad news is so painful that you block out the worst news you could possibly have. The little boy's story is a tragedy for him and his parents and no one will be more aware if that than the medics treating him.

     
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  52.  
    Email: newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk 09:46: Your pictures

    Kirsi Sutherland grabbed this spectacular shot last night at the end of the fireworks display marking the end of the Edinburgh festival.

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  53.  
    09:37: Transfer Deadline Day Graham Fraser BBC Scotland

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  54.  
    09:25: Tsonga 'less afraid' of Murray

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  55.  
    Text 80295 09:16: Medical advice - your views

    Maureen in Aberdeen: It's a disgrace the way the parents have been treated - the NHS is OK, but only OK. Who wouldn't go to the ends of the earth for their child? Doctors are not God, how dare they act as if they own someone's body and soul!

    H in Edinburgh: The little boy's parents could have sought a second opinion etc leaving their little boy safely in hospital. They put their wee boy in grave danger exposing him to germs and infections.

     
  56.  
    09:05: What the papers say

    Today's front pages don't just feature the referendum.

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    compo

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  57.  
    08:55: A question of energy

    What might a "Yes" vote in the referendum mean for energy policy?

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    You can read his analysis here.

     
  58.  
    08:45: Rise in skin cancer cases

    Skin cancer cases have increased two-and-a-half fold over the last 30 years - but survival rates have also soared, according to researchers from Glasgow.

    Researchers from the Alan Lyell Centre for Dermatology in Glasgow found a significant rise in cases since 1990.

    Sunburn

    But they also noted that 85% per cent of men and 90% of women now survive for at least five years after diagnosis.

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  59.  
    08:32: All the sporting gossip

    Sporting Gijon's Serbian striker Stefan Scepovic has pulled out of a £2.4m move to Celtic at the last minute, while Celtic have told defender Virgil van Dijk he will not be allowed to leave on deadline day.

    Elsewhere, former Ajax striker Patrick Kluivert has "110%" ruled himself out of the running for the manager's job at Ross County.

    Steven Gallcher

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  60.  
    08:22: Morning Call

    This morning we're talking about the couple who took their five-year-old son Ashya, who has a brain tumour, from a hospital in Southampton. Brett and Naghemeh King face extradition to the UK after being arrested in Malaga.

    Louise asks: Would you challenge medical advice when it comes to your child?

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    Elsewhere, with the Scottish Paranormal Festival about to start - are too quick to dismiss the paranormal?

    Lines are open now. Call 0500 92 95 00, text 80295 or email morningcallscotland@bbc.co.uk.

     
  61.  
    08:15: Weather update BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    Dry and bright with good sunny spells developing, the best in the south and east. The north west and Shetland will be cloudier with an odd very light shower. Winds will be light.

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  62.  
    08:09: Registration deadline looms

    Both independence referendum campaigns have urged people to register to vote if they have not already done so.

    Residents have until midnight on Tuesday to ensure they can take part in this month's ballot.

    Ballot box

    Voter registration in Scotland has already reached record levels, with more than 4.1 million people listed on the electoral roll.

     
  63.  
    07:58: Welcome Marianne Taylor BBC Scotland news

    Good morning and welcome to BBC Scotland Live. We'll be here till 18:00 with all the latest news, sport, weather and travel from across the country.

    You can keep in touch on Twitter using #ScotlandLive, via email or by text on 80295.

     

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