Panda watch starts at Edinburgh Zoo

The possibility of a panda being born at Edinburgh Zoo has alerted panda lovers around the world . The female giant panda has been artificially inseminated.
The zoo is also going to try to mate the pandas naturally before the end of the short breeding season.
Edinburgh Zoo acquired the pandas on loan from China in 2011 and previous attempts to mate the pair have failed.
Tian Tian, which means Sweetie, and male Yang Guang (Sunshine) were the first giant pandas to live in the UK for 17 years.
The last pandas in the UK, Ming Ming and Bao Bao, left a zoo in London in 1994 after failing to mate.
‘No say’
Iain Valentine, director of giant pandas for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said artificial insemination took place on Tian Tian in the early hours of Thursday.
“The procedure was carried out by the expert team of three veterinarians at RZSS, alongside Chinese colleague Doctor Wang Chengdong from the China Conservation and Research Centre for Giant Pandas (CCRCGP),” he said.
“Only semen from male panda Yang Guang was used during the procedure.
“Natural mating will also be attempted today before the short breeding window comes to a close this afternoon (Thursday) as both pandas remain extremely interested in one another, but as Tian Tian’s transition to peak was so rapid it was a priority to move straight to artificial insemination first.”

Edinburgh Zoo celebrates first anniversary of pandas arrival

One year ago Tian Tian and Yang Guang arrived at Edinburgh Zoo amid worldwide interest after a 5,000- mile flight from China into Edinburgh Airport.
Since then, more than half a million visitors have been to see the animals, who are set to stay in Scotland for another nine years.The arrival of the pandas has been a massive commercial success for the Zoo.
Iain Valentine, Director of Research and Conservation at the zoo, said much has been learnt about the species over the last 12 months.
“Looking back on this, our first giant panda year, it has been a great success,” he said.
The only disappointing thing about the pandas has been their failure to mate. Pandas have a limited breeding season and did not manage to mate this year, although Mr Valentine says he has high hopes for 2013.