Giant panda, Tian Tian (Sweetie) artificially inseminated in Scotland

April 21, 2013 at 10:09 PM

EDINBURGH, Scotland, April 21 (UPI) -- A Scottish zoo's team of international experts said artificial insemination was performed Sunday on a female giant panda.

Officials at the Edinburgh Zoo said even had natural mating been shown to be likely to occur, the team still would have supplementing such mating with artificial insemination, the zoo's news releases said Tuesday.

Tian Tian (Sweetie), the female panda, had shown interest in Yang Guang (Sunshine), the male, but Professor Wang of the China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas said Tian Tian also showed signs that she would not actually go through with a mating.

"Any cub born of this pairing and reared by its mother would be a very valuable animal indeed for the conservation of the species as a whole – due to the combined genetics of Tian Tian and Yang Guang and the skills passed onto a cub that is mother reared – and also has a good chance of eventually going into the selection process for reintroduction to the wild by our Chinese colleagues," said Iain Valentine, the zoo's director of giant pandas.

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