Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh Zoo giant pandas: No cubs this year after mating fails

The giant pandas at Edinburgh Zoo will not have cubs this year after they failed to mate.

Officials announced the panda mating season was over after Tian Tian's hormone levels dropped to "almost normal levels".

It follows several mating attempts over the past two days.

Officials had hoped to bring the pandas together for one last attempt earlier but Tian Tian's hormone levels were just too low.

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

The pair showed interest in each other and wrestled "a lot" but failed to mate successfully.

Image caption The pandas met in their indoor enclosures so officials could make sure they did not fight

Tian Tian (meaning Sweetie) and Yang Guang (Sunshine) were brought together in a so-called "love tunnel" between their two indoor enclosures.

Iain Valentine, director of research and conservation at the zoo, said: "Each time the pair met we saw a huge amount of eagerness and attraction between Tian Tian and Yang Guang.

"There was lots of vocalisation and encouragement from our female and physical contact between the two. He mounted her several times, however full mating did not occur."

Mr Valentine added: "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.

"Overall, we remain very pleased with the outcome of the last few weeks and it has been a fantastic trial run here at Edinburgh Zoo."

Tian Tian and Yang Guang arrived in Scotland from Ya'an reserve in Chengdu, China, in December last year.

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