Reuters - Video

Edition: U.S. | U.K. | IN | CN

Oddly Enough

All hands on deck for panda pregnancy watch

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 01:29

Aug.22 - Zookeepers at Washington's Smithsonian National Zoo go on panda watch for a possible pregnancy. Tara Cleary reports.

▲ Hide Transcript

View Transcript

Mei Xiang is on pregnancy watch at Washington D.C.'s Smithsonian Zoo. A spike in the giant panda's hormone levels suggests she is 40 to 50 days away from giving birth. But that's no guarantee - Mei Xiang has had five pseudo-pregnancies, a common occurrence in giant pandas, according to animal keeper, Juan Rodriguez. SOUNDBITE: Juan Rodriguez, animal keeper at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, saying (English): "It's very, very complicated the fetus is so small the only true way of determining if the panda is pregnant or not is through an ultrasound and that's not always a fool proof method. There are some institutions that have ultrasounds almost daily to the day of birth and they didn't see a thing and the following day the giant panda gave birth." Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated in April and all signs point to her expecting a cub: She's building a nest, she's more moody, less active and is sleeping more. But zoo officials say there's still only less than a 10 percent chance of an actual pregnancy. SOUNDBITE: Juan Rodriguez, animal keeper at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, saying (English): "You don't want to come in one day and get caught off guard and go 'oh wow, she has a cub' so every time we do the natural breeding or the attempt of natural breeding and the artificial insemination and we automatically in our head prepare or that day if it were to arrive and we hope for the best." And 2012 may be the year that the zoo finally welcomes a panda cub.

Press CTRL+C (Windows), CMD+C (Mac), or long-press the URL below on your mobile device to copy the code

All hands on deck for panda pregnancy watch

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 01:29