Giant panda breeding season starts early at National Zoo

The 2009 giant panda mating season began Thursday, Jan. 15 at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Female Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) and male Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN) attempted to mate throughout the day Thursday. For the past six years, Mei Xiang has typically ovulated in March or April.


Zoo staff carefully observed the pandas’ activities and, because competent mating did not occur, Zoo scientists and veterinarians performed a nonsurgical artificial inseminations on Jan. 17.


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  • Cynthia Longo PRO 7y

    Well this is exciting though I hate that the pandas had to be knocked out for the procedures.
  • spiderxcat PRO 7y

    Thank you so much for this video it was really interresting !! I appreciate all the behind the scenes footage. Praying for a cub or two from Mei this year..
  • TAIwiffic PRO 7y

    Thank you National Zoo. I appreciate this video and think that using this medium for disseminating information. We can catch up with SDZ and ZA on keeping people worldwide interested in pandas, conservation and the special pandas we have at NZ!
  • Linda PRO 7y

    Yes, thank you for using Flickr to share this exciting time, news and interviews.
  • saulesmeit PRO 7y

    Wow, Big Daddy sure has some really active swimmers there! :-)
  • Carol ~ CAP 7y

    Thanks for this behind the scenes look. I'm keeping my pseudo-thumbs crossed for a cub this spring.
  • ffleur 7y

    Love that Mei Xiang had a pretty pink sheet for her operation.
  • buttercake56 7y

    Thanks to NZ for submitting this to Flickr to share this video.
  • marcia4tai 7y

    Thanks National Zoo - this was terrific to see!
  • raeluvstai PRO 7y

    Thank You, NZ staff, All of You, for the wonderful, expert care you give 'our' pandas! We are hoping along with you for a new brother or sister for Tai!
  • Elke 7y

    This is cool. I appreciate the video. Oddly enough the Memphis Zoo is going through the same thing. There estrus seems to have arrived early as well. Hmm.
  • Judy Davis 7y

    Thank you so much for this video.
  • Jason 7y

    Thanks for sharing
  • msmith2629 7y

    Thanks for sharing. Excellent job of explaining the AI process without being to "graphic" for young folks who may be watching. Excellent job of educating everyone in the value of Mei's genes in the captive population.
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Taken on January 22, 2009
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