Edinburgh Panda Is Not Pregnant

The UK's female giant panda Tian Tian is not expecting a cub, keepers have confirmed.

Experts at Edinburgh Zoo believe she was successfully inseminated but lost the foetus at late term. 

A statement said: ``All of her hormonal and behavioural signs now indicate that she had conceived and carried a foetus until late term, but then lost it.'' 

Tian Tian (Sweetie) has been keeping her carers at Edinburgh Zoo guessing over her possible pregnancy since she was artificially inseminated in April. 

In August, experts noted signs that she had been successfully fertilised and it was hoped a panda cub would be born by September.

Chris West, chief executive of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), which runs the zoo, said: ``We are all saddened by this turn of events after so many weeks of waiting. 

``Timings are difficult to pinpoint at this moment, but we had a meeting this morning where Tian Tian's behaviour and hormone results were reviewed and have come to the conclusion that it is very likely she has lost the pregnancy. 

``Up until now, Tian Tian has consistently shown signs of pregnancy. However, the veterinary team has noticed a significant decline in the amount of colostrum being produced and over the last few days she has returned to the normal eating and behavioural patterns of a non-pregnant panda.'' 

Tian Tian and male panda Yang Guang (Sunshine) arrived at Edinburgh Zoo from China in December 2011. 

Zoo bosses hoped the pair would mate naturally when she came into season. Animal experts ruled out putting them together after assessing her behaviour and Tian Tian was artificially inseminated using semen from Yang Guang and another panda.

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