Staff at Smithsonian’s National Zoo confirmed late yesterday that female giant panda Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) is not pregnant but was experiencing a pseudo, or false, pregnancy during the past several months. We knew this was possible, as Mei’s pulled this stunt before, but still, I’m sad about no baby cuteness.
The National Zoo says, “Female giant pandas almost always undergo a pseudopregnancy when they ovulate but fail to conceive. During a pseudopregnancy, hormonal changes and behaviors are identical to those of a true pregnancy, making it very difficult to determine if a giant panda is actually pregnant or not. This is the fifth time Mei Xiang has had a pseudopregnancy. She had her only cub, Tai Shan, in 2005. Giant pandas ovulate once a year—Zoo scientists will determine whether Mei Xiang should be considered for breeding again in 2010.”
At least we’ve still got those Cloud Leopard cubs to aww at.