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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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Taken on January 22, 2009