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National Zoo attempts to impregnate giant panda

WASHINGTON — An expert from China and scientists at the National Zoo are attempting to artificially inseminate the zoo’s female giant panda Mei Xiang.

Zoo officials say the procedure was conducted Sunday night after scientists determined the zoo’s panda couple had not mated naturally.

Dr. Li Desheng from the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda will perform another artificial insemination Monday evening with the zoo’s scientists.

The zoo says Mei Xiang was inseminated with thawed semen from male panda Tian Tian that was collected in 2005. Staff will continue to monitor Mei Xiang’s hormone levels and conduct ultrasounds in the coming months to determine whether she is pregnant.

The Washington panda couple has produced one cub, Tai Shan. He was born in 2005.