Photo by PoPville flickr user Brian Mosley
“Due to the high winds the National Zoo will be closed to the public today.”
And the good stuff:
“A team of reproductive scientists, veterinarians and panda keepers at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute performed an artificial insemination on giant panda Mei Xiang today, March. 1.
Scientists and keepers had been closely monitoring Mei Xiang’s behavior and hormones since she began displaying behavioral changes Feb. 17, indicating she was almost ready to breed. Daily hormone reports showed Mei Xiang’s estrogen levels peaked Feb. 28, which means she was ovulating and able to become pregnant. Female giant pandas are only in estrus or able to become pregnant, for 24 to 72 hours each year.
The panda team will not know if the artificial inseminations were successful for several months. Giant panda pregnancies and pseudopregnancies generally last between three and six months. Zoo veterinarians will conduct ultrasounds to track changes in Mei Xiang’s reproductive tract and determine if she is pregnant during the next several months. Scientists will also monitor her hormones to determine when she is near the end of a pseudopregnancy or pregnancy. There is no way to determine if a female is pregnant from hormone analysis and behavior alone. Mei Xiang’s hormones and behavior will mimic a pregnancy even if she is pseudopregnant. The only definitive way to determine if she is pregnant is to see a developing fetus on an ultrasound.”
Today is our 129th birthday! 🎉 On March 2, 1889, President Cleveland signed a law establishing the Zoo. Our founder, William Temple Hornaday, brought American bison from Montana to D.C. His #conservation efforts helped save bison from the brink of extinction. #WeSaveSpecies pic.twitter.com/GCO0mGa4S6
— National Zoo (@NationalZoo) March 2, 2018