After months of speculation, Edinburgh Zoo’s star attraction has returned to eating and behavioural patterns, indicating she is no longer pregnant.
There was disappointment at Edinburgh Zoo yesterday (October 15, 2013) when it emerged female giant panda Tian Tian is no longer pregnant.
According to experts, hormone and behavioural signs indicated she had conceived and carried a foetus until late term, but then lost it.
Tian Tian was artificially inseminated in April and had been showing signs of pregnancy for several weeks.
However, the zoo said she had now returned to the eating and behavioural patterns of a non-pregnant panda.
Chris West, chief executive officer for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: “Such a loss has always been in our minds as a very real possibility, as it occurs in giant pandas as well as many other animals, including humans.
“What we have achieved, considering we have had giant pandas for less than two years, is immense.
“Our dedicated team of keepers, veterinary staff and many others worked tirelessly to ensure Tian Tian received the best care possible, which included remote observation and closing the panda enclosure to visitors to give her quiet and privacy.
“We are conducting a detailed review of the scientific data collected, but I am totally confident we did everything it was possible to do.”
The panda enclosure will remain closed until the end of the week to give Tian Tian time to get back into her routine and to give her keepers a chance to recuperate.
Keepers insist Tian Tian received the best care possible and remain confident she will eventually give birth.
Mr West added: “The majority of research centres and zoos with giant pandas around the world have not successfully bred until the third or fourth year.”