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National Zoo Performs Insemination On Giant Panda

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Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A Chinese veterinarian has performed an artificial insemination on the National Zoo’s female giant panda, Mei Xiang.

Animal keepers detected a rise in panda hormone levels and breeding behaviors this week. A team of scientists performed the artificial insemination Saturday morning after animal keepers determined there was no natural breeding overnight between Mei Xiang and male panda Tian Tian.

Veterinarian Tang Chunxiang traveled from China’s Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda to assist with the breeding. The zoo says a second procedure will likely be performed later Saturday.

Mei Xiang delivered a cub last year, but the tiny female died six days later. Her only surviving offspring, Tai Shan was born in 2005.

The panda house has been closed since Tuesday but reopens Sunday.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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