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Giant panda Update Mar 27, 2013

Breeding season has arrived! Mei Xiang and Tian Tian are exhibiting behaviors indicating that they are ready to breed; and Mei Xiang's hormones have begun to rise. That rise indicates that she is in estrus. Our giant panda breeding team — including Zoo keepers, reproductive scientists, veterinarians and Chinese colleagues — is in place and waiting. Mei Xiang and Tian Tian will have an opportunity to breed naturally, but if no competent breeding is observed then the team will perform one or more artificial inseminations. Zoo scientists are monitoring Mei Xiang's behaviors and hormones, and will identify the best time to perform an artificial insemination in the coming days.

The David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat will be closed until Mei Xiang is no longer in estrus, but visitors ocassionally may be able to see one or both bears in their yards from Asia Trail. In the meantime the best place to watch Mei and Tian is on the panda cam, sponsored by the Ford Motor Company Fund. However, the cam will be turned off if the panda team is performing an artificial insemination. We will provide updates on breeding efforts on the Zoo's Facebook page and its Twitter page using the hashtag #PandaAI.