Panda gets ultrasound, no fetus yet

March 8, 2010 at 7:54 PM

WASHINGTON, March 8 (UPI) -- Officials at Washington's National Zoo said female panda Mei Xiang showed no signs of pregnancy during an ultrasound exam Monday but it may be too soon to tell.

Veterinarian Jessica Siegal-Willott performed the ultrasound at 7:30 a.m. EST Monday while zoo workers scanned the image for signs that artificial insemination procedures in January successfully created a fetus for 11-year-old Mei Xiang and 12-year-old male donor panda Tian Tian, The Washington Post reported Monday.

The zoo said the ultrasound, the second performed since the artificial insemination, was mostly aimed at establishing a data foundation for later tests. They said a fetus may take weeks yet to become visible on an ultrasound.

Tai Shan, Mei Xiang's only offspring, was born at the zoo in 2005. The panda was sent to China this year as part of an agreement between the two countries.

The agreement keeping Mei Xiang and Tian Tian at the national zoo runs out in December.

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