Yay! Tian Tian the giant panda is finally pregnant

Tian Tian arrived in Scotland as part of breeding pair with Yang Guang in 2011 and was artificially inseminated for the fifth time late last year

A female giant panda could be close to making history - by being the first to give birth in the UK.

'Tian Tian is being closely monitored by our expert team and we will be the first to share any news as soon as we can'.

The zoo's statement came after the Edinburgh Evening News obtained correspondence between the zoo and the Scottish government disclosing that Tian Tian had been artificially inseminated and could give birth this week.

If she does give birth, it will be the first giant panda cub born in the United Kingdom - though Tian Tian is already a mother, having given birth to twins back in China.

Tian Tian and male panda Yang Guang, who are both 14, arrived in Edinburgh on a decade-long loan from China in 2011 and are the only giant pandas in Britain.

However, several attempts to get the panda pregnant failed.

She has been artificially inseminated five times since past year after the zoo decided there was no prospect of Tian Tian and Yang Guang ever mating naturally.

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Dcuments released today show that in late July this year Tian Tian's pregnancy was "on track" and the mother-to-be is "doing real well".

It can be very difficult to determine whether a panda is pregnant because their fetuses are tiny and hard to detect. See or hear from you soon.

Baby pandas weigh about 150g at birth, about the same as an apple. "Will keep you posted on TT as things move forward".

The pair, described as a gift from China, were the first giant pandas to reside in the United Kingdom for 17 years.

Panda experts at Edinburgh Zoo carried out the artificial insemination late past year after hormone monitoring revealed that Tian Tian hit peak oestrus levels.

Previous suggestions of a pregnancy for Tian Tian sparked widespread media coverage in Britain, including one popular BBC radio current affairs programme which broadcast satirical daily "Possible Panda Pregnancy Update (s)".


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