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Zookeepers at the Edinburgh Zoo in London were devastated when they discovered that their giant panda Tian Tian is no longer pregnant after suffering a miscarriage.
According to the Associated Press, the panda was artificially inseminated back in April and her behavior afterward confirmed that she was indeed pregnant.
"Timings are difficult to pinpoint at this moment, but we had a meeting this morning where Tian Tian's behavior and hormone results were reviewed and have come to the conclusion that it is very likely she has lost the pregnancy," reported chief executive officer of the society, Chris West.
The Edinburgh zoo was extremely disappointed by the news, as they only have Tian Tian for less than two years, so this was their chance for a cub, but they were prepared for the possibility of a miscarriage. "Such a loss has always been in our minds as a very real possibility as it occurs in giant pandas as well as many other animals, including humans," West said.
Other zoos have been successful with artificial insemination in giant pandas, reports CNN. Mei Xiang of the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington birthed a female giant panda cub in August and the Atlanta zoo's Lun Lun gave birth to twin cubs in July.
Tian Tian's enclosure was closed throughout her pregnancy to give the mother-to-be privacy, and it will remain closed through the end of the week.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons