Giant panda & AI

File photo of Giant Panda Mei Xiang enjoying her afternoon nap at the National Zoo in Washington

(@ Kevin Lamarque from reuters)

(Reuters) – Veterinarians at the National Zoo artificially inseminated the zoo’s female giant panda, Mei Xiang, on Saturday after natural breeding failed to occur, zoo keepers said.

Mei Xiang was put under general anesthesia and inseminated with a combination of fresh semen and frozen semen collected from the zoo’s male giant panda, Tian Tian.

The Washington zoo said scientists performed a second and final insemination later on Saturday evening.

“It will be several months before we know if she is pregnant,” the National Zoo said in a tweet.


Artificial insemination of farm animals is very common in today’s agriculture industry in the developed world, especially for breeding dairy cattle. –¬†

There are many advantages to artificial insemination (AI) in domesticated and zoo animals. There is less of a chance of injury to either partner during the mating process. There is less stress to the female, who often is the one that has to be transported to and from the home of the male. But no system of reproduction is perfect, including AI. — By Rena Sherwood, eHow Contributor

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