Not yet! Tian Tian and Yang Guang are the only giant pandas in the UK and much excitement has surrounded them since their arrival to Edinburgh in December 2011. They are on loan from Bifengxia Breeding Centre in China, and will return there in 2021. During their time here, crowds have flocked to the zoo to get a glimpse of these rare and magnificent animals. The Edinburgh pandas are now more than half way through their stay and so far the breeding programme has failed to produce a panda cub.
Edinburgh Pandas Breeding Programme
The breeding of pandas is notoriously difficult. They often have trouble mating naturally and so breeding centres commonly use the process of artificial insemination. There is only a small window every year when the female is fertile and pregnancies are hard to detect. Sometimes they turn out to be pseudo-pregnancies. This is where the panda displays all the signs of being pregnant without the actual presence of a fetus. Even when a pregnancy is confirmed, the chances of the baby being born and surviving the first few weeks of life are relatively low.
Despite the challenges, experts at the zoo remain optimistic that we will see a wee panda cub in Edinburgh soon. Watch this space for more news of the breeding programme.