Tian Tian, Panda At Edinburgh Zoo, Could Give Birth Live On The Web

Posted: 18/03/2012 11:21 Updated: 18/03/2012 11:29   PA

Edinburgh Zoo is considering streaming the birth of its first baby panda live on the internet.

Giant pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang arrived in Scotland from Ya'an reserve in Chengdu, China, on December 4 last year.

They went on show to zoo visitors for the first time on December 16 after being acclimatised to their new surroundings.

Tian Tian, like all female pandas, is said to have only three days a year when she will be ready to mate and that breeding window is expected anytime from the end of this month until early May.

Iain Valentine, director of animal conservation and research at the zoo, told the Scotland on Sunday newspaper:

"It could be that we would be able to give the world the view of the panda giving birth live.

"We are absolutely considering it. It has been recorded before, but nobody's ever given it to a live audience."

A spokeswoman for Edinburgh Zoo said today: "It's not definite, but if they mate it is an option."

The pair are currently being kept apart, but daily tests on Tian Tian's urine will help the zoo pinpoint when to re-introduce them.

The zoo spokeswoman said: "There's been no change in Tian Tian's hormones yet. When the change is identified, we know she will be ready seven days later."

If she gets pregnant, Tian Tian's gestation period could be anything from 85 to 105 days.

The panda enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo already has a camera installed, which allows people to watch the animals on a daily basis.

Mr Valentine told the Press Association last month: "A newborn would be huge, not just for the zoo but for the whole of the UK, it would be the first time - but there is still a lot of work to be done on that front."

Edinburgh Zoo will be the animals' home for the next 10 years. Tian Tian and Yang Guang are the first giant pandas to live in the UK for 17 years.

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Filed by Chris Wimpress  |