National Zoo's Giant Panda Might Be Pregnant Again
Mei Xiang and Tai Shan kickin' it in D.C. DumbYellowDog, Flickr
Scientists at the National Zoo in D.C. are saying that there's reason to believe that their panda, Mei Xiang, might be--might be--pregnant following artificial insemination in January, according to the Associated Press. Yesterday the zoo announced that Mei Xiang's hormone levels are on the rise, which could indicate a pregnancy. It's difficult to tell for sure because giant panda fetuses don't develop until the end of the gestation period... one of several reasons why getting giant pandas to mate and save their own species from extinction is such a confounding process. Another reason is that false pregnancies are not uncommon with giant pandas. Mei Xiang herself has fooled us before. On the other hand, she's also successfully given birth before, to Tai Shan in 2005.
Zoo scientists will continue to monitor Mei Xiang with ultrasounds. If she is pregnant, the baby is due in July. Keep your fingers crossed. May we have another giant panda in the world, and may it live as long as the late Ming Ming.