Is Ocean Park’s female giant panda Ying Ying pregnant? Birthday absence fuels hopes in Hong Kong
Ocean Park’s female panda Ying Ying was missing from her mate’s birthday party photo on Monday, sparking suspicions that she might again be pregnant, a year after her miscarriage left Hong Kong animal lovers devastated.
The Sichuan-born, ten-year-old giant panda has been mating since April with Le Le, and is showing signs of pregnancy. But the park’s officials said it was too early to confirm.
“Ying Ying likes to sleep more at the moment and is showing hormonal changes,” said the park’s spokeswoman Una Lau, “but the vet says we cannot tell for sure if it is a pseudopregnancy until two weeks before the due date.”
Bamboo-munching Ying Ying and her mate Le Le have long been looked to to produce the first giant panda born in Hong Kong.
The second pair of pandas given to the city, they were only two years old when they arrived at the park, where workers have tried to help them procreate both naturally and artificially.
Last October hopes that Ying Ying would be a mother were dashed when ultrasounds revealed her 3.5cm-long foetus no longer had a heartbeat.
“We are really happy for Ying Ying,” said Lau, who cautioned that panda-watchers would have to wait weeks before the pregnancy could be confirmed.
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