Home>News Center>Life

Panda's pregnancy a false alarm
Updated: 2004-07-08 09:27

Ling Ling, a perennially unlucky giant panda in Japan, has once again failed to father an offspring -- even with the help of science.

Keepers at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo said on Wednesday that attempts to artificially impregnate a female panda on loan from Mexico had failed, ending months of anxious speculation.

When female panda Shuan Shuan was brought to Tokyo in December, it was hoped that she and the Beijing-born Ling Ling might click romantically. Sparks were few, so the zoo turned to artificial insemination.

In spring, Shuan Shuan began showing signs of pregnancy, leading panda watchers to hope for the patter of tiny paws.

But the signs, including changed eating habits and nest-building, turned out to be a false pregnancy.

Before Shuan Shuan's Tokyo sojourn, Ling Ling had made three separate unsuccessful trips to Mexico.

The 18-year-old male is one of eight pandas in Japan, and the only panda living permanently at Ueno Zoo.

There are only an estimated 800 to 1,000 pandas left in the wild, and they are notoriously difficult to breed in captivity.

Females come on heat only once a year for a few days, and can be picky about partners.

The news was a disappointment for the Tokyo zoo, the first in Japan to have a panda.

"Pandas are like the symbolic face of the zoo," said spokesman Masanari Ono. "It's a terrible shame that we couldn't breed any this time."

Angelina Jolie meets with Cambodia's PM
Memorial fountain for Diana unveiled in London
Group ceremony for 102 couples in Qingdao
  Today's Top News     Top Life News

Bird flu case rated 'isolated' occurrence



HK's health chief quits over SARS



Japan's sea exploration sparks tension



Power shortage: 6,400 factories to go off-line



Flooding kills 288 in 22 areas across China



Bribery involved in Xi'an lottery fraud


  Panda's pregnancy a false alarm
  Eyes in sky keep tabs on street crimes?
  'Toilet'drama flush with hutong humour
  Chinese travelers step out boundaries
  Hyped beauty makes girls under knife
  'Seal of quality' for better brothels?
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  Related Stories  
Panda smokes draw a crowd
Nine giant pandas get medical examinations in Shaanxi
Giant panda reaches future home in Chengdu
Japan-born panda cub happy back
Giant panda born in Japan returns to ancestral China
Panda pregnant after watching sex videos
China pandas procreating, but not out of the woods
  Oops! Britney to do marriage again