Panda enclosure closed at Edinburgh zoo amid pregnancy hopes

File photo dated 22/9/2014 of  Tian Tian. The panda enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo has been closed to the public as keepers hope for the arrival of a rare cub. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday August 17, 2015. Britain's only female giant panda, Tian Tian, was artificially inseminated for the third time earlier this year. Experts said she conceived but they still do not know for definite if she is pregnant. Keepers in Edinburgh have closed off her enclosure and that of male Yang Guang to prepare for a potential birth. See PA story ANIMALS Panda. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
File photo dated 22/9/2014 of Tian Tian. The panda enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo has been closed to the public as keepers hope for the arrival of a rare cub. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday August 17, 2015. Britain's only female giant panda, Tian Tian, was artificially inseminated for the third time earlier this year. Experts said she conceived but they still do not know for definite if she is pregnant. Keepers in Edinburgh have closed off her enclosure and that of male Yang Guang to prepare for a potential birth. See PA story ANIMALS Panda. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
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The panda enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo has been closed to the public as keepers hope for the arrival of a rare cub.

Britain’s only female giant panda, Tian Tian, was artificially inseminated for the third time earlier this year.

Experts said she conceived but they still do not know for definite if she is pregnant.

Keepers in Edinburgh have closed off her enclosure and that of male Yang Guang to prepare for a potential birth.

A statement said: “Please be aware that due to our giant panda Tian Tian’s potential pregnancy, the panda enclosure is now closed until further notice and both her and Yang Guang’s panda cams have also now been turned off.

“Many thanks to our visitors and members for their understanding during this exciting, but delicate, period.”

A team of three vets at Edinburgh Zoo and a panda expert from China carried out the insemination in March.

Keepers had inseminated Tian Tian twice before but she has so far failed to produce a cub.

There were hopes that a panda cub would be born last year when she became pregnant following insemination, but vets who closely monitored her believe she may have reabsorbed the foetus.

Panda reproduction is a notoriously tricky process, with females only ovulating once a year.

The gestation period is typically five months and one or two cubs are usually born.

Tian Tian (Sweetie) and Yang Guang (Sunshine) were the first giant pandas to live in the UK for 17 years when they arrived on loan from China in December 2011.

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