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S.D. Zoo Says 17-Year-Old Panda is Pregnant

Bai Yun, a 17-year-old giant panda, was announced by the San Diego Zoo today to be pregnant for the fifth time.
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Above: Bai Yun, a 17-year-old giant panda, was announced by the San Diego Zoo today to be pregnant for the fifth time.

— The San Diego Zoo's 17-year-old giant panda Bai Yun is pregnant, it was announced today.

The mother of four was subjected to an ultrasound examination on Monday that clearly showed a panda fetus, which was seen moving its paws and tucking in its head, according to the San Diego Zoo.

The heartbeat of a second fetus was also detected, but veterinarians don't know if it will survive because it does not appear to be developing as quickly as the first.

Bai Yun is due to give birth next month, according to Meg Sutherland- Smith, a zoo veterinarian.

"Unfortunately there are still no hormone tests to confirm a pregnancy early on," she said. "We rely on ultrasound images to see the development of a fetus, and based on previous years' observations, we can predict a birth will occur in August."

The father is Gao Gao, according to zoo veterinarians. The two mated naturally in April.

Bai Yun is in an off-exhibit habitat where she has been showing signs of pregnancy, including changes in her hormone levels, nest building and a loss of appetite, according to the zoo.

Bai Yun has delivered four healthy cubs at the San Diego Zoo.

In 1999, her first cub, Hua Mei, became the first giant panda conceived by artificial insemination in the western hemisphere and the first in the country to survive to adulthood.

Hua Mei is now part of a breeding program in China, along with her brother, Mei Sheng, born in San Diego in 2003.

Bai Yun's two other offspring, Su Lin and Zhen Zhen, born in 2005 and 2007, are still at the San Diego Zoo.

Comments

Avatar for user 'my2cnz'

my2cnz | July 30, 2009 at 2:39 p.m. ― 5 years, 5 months ago

This is all well and good for the pandas who, because they remain 'adorable' throughout their lives, will probably never be at risk of being 'dumped' by the San Diego Zoo into some ungodly, woefully inadequate roadside zoo.

Instead of always promoting all the 'cutsie' stories, how about covering the rather real 'ugly' stories like this recent investigation of Las Vegas Zoo where we learned yesterday, San Diego Zoo animals have been 'dumped!'

We learn that Niya, a 3-year old lynx who was dumped by SD Zoo in this horribly inadequate Las Vegas Zoo where her needs aren't being met either physically, socially, or mentally and where inadequate space is a serious concern. How can this be? What kind of humane practice is this?

Didn't the San Diego Zoo got in a lot of hot water about a dozen years ago for selling animals out the back door to a hunting ranch in Texas. Looks like the revolving door is still operating.

Watch video of Humane Society Investigation:
http://www.ktnv.com/Global/story.asp?S=10806054&nav=menu498_2

This is shameful! Please investigate San Diego Zoo and insist they TAKE BACK Niya, and any other animals they have dumped in this zoo, which I understand may include a bintourang and fossas. San Diego Zoo needs to take them back or send them to a sanctuary, and publically promise to NEVER dump animals at this Las Vegas Zoo again, or anywhere else for that matter.

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