EDINBURGH, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- The female panda Tian Tian at Edinburgh Zoo was confirmed of losing pregnancy, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) announced on Tuesday.
Experts at the RZSS, the conservation charity that owns and manages Edinburgh Zoo, can now confirm that they no longer believe Tian Tian is pregnant, the press release said.
"All of her hormonal and behavioral signs now indicate that she had conceived and carried a foetus until late term, but then lost it." it added.
Chris West, RZSS Chief Executive Officer, said "We are all saddened by this turn of events after so many weeks of waiting. Timings are difficult to pinpoint at this moment, but we had a meeting this morning where Tian Tian's behavior and hormone results were reviewed and have come to the conclusion that it is very likely she has lost the pregnancy."
"Up until now, Tian Tian has consistently shown signs of pregnancy -- she passed a mucus plug around mid-September and began producing colostrum. She also experienced a prolonged secondary-rise in progesterone. However, the veterinary team has noticed a significant decline in the amount of colostrum being produced and over the last few days she has returned to the normal eating and behavioural patterns of a non-pregnant panda." he noted.
West also said such a loss has always been in the minds as a very real possibility, as it occurs in giant pandas as well as many other animals, including humans, stressing that Tian Tian received the best care possible, which included remote observation and closing the panda enclosure to visitors to give her quiet and privacy.
He also extended thanks to the Chinese partners the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP) and the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA), as well as the international science colleagues for their support and guidance throughout this period.
New hormone research is beginning to indicate that lost pregnancies are more common in giant pandas than first thought, West noted, adding that the RZSS is working as part of a global giant panda conservation program and will continue to work closely with international colleagues towards better understanding giant panda biology, education and conservation in the wild.
The panda enclosure will remain closed until the end of the week, in order to give Tian Tian time to get back into her routine and provide her keepers with the chance to recuperate, said the press release.
In early August, the RZSS announced that hormonal and behavioral signs indicated Tian Tian may be pregnant or experiencing a pseudo pregnancy. It's very difficult to confirm panda pregnancy as the body may reabsorb foetuses or reject them in real pregnancy.
Edinburgh is the only city in Britain that houses pandas, after Yang Guang and Tian Tian arrived at Edinburgh Zoo on Dec. 4, 2011 from China for a 10-year exchange program.