Giant panda Mei Xiang isn't pregnant after all, says National Zoo
WASHINGTON — The National Zoo says its female giant panda is not pregnant after all.
The zoo says a final ultrasound and hormone analysis Tuesday confirmed Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) was experiencing a pseudo pregnancy over the past several months. Pandas' hormone levels and behavior can indicate they're pregnant when they're not.
Volunteers at the zoo began a 24-hour pregnancy watch Friday as Mei Xiang's hormone levels began to level out. This is the fifth time she's experienced a pseudo pregnancy.
This may have been the zoo's last chance to breed Mei Xiang and male Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN). A 10-year loan for them expires at the end of the year, when they could be returned to China.
-- Associated Press
Photo: National Zoo staff perform an ultrasound on Mei Xiang. Credit: Mehgan Murphy / Smithsonian's National Zoo