We've been keeping an eye on the PandaCam at the Zoo because we heard it was time for a little hanky panky between the pandas. But if anything went on, we missed it.
Should nature not take its proper course, however, the Zoo's scientists don't want to waste an opportunity. Female pandas only go into estrus one time a year for just 48 hours.
So yesterday, reproduction scientists Copper Aitken-Palmer, JoGayle Howard, and Pierre Comizzoli (foreground) and zoo veterinarian Carlos Sanchez were part of a large team of experts that performed an artificial insemination this afternoon on Mei Xiang, the Zoo’s female giant panda.
By all reports, if the insemination is successful, Mei Xiang will give birth in the next 90 to 185 days.
(Photograph courtesy of Jessie Cohen / Smithsonian’s National Zoo/March 19, 2008)