National Zoo's Panda Preggers?
Hormone levels suggest Mei Xiang may be expecting
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 20, 2008 11:56 AM CDT
This handout photo provided by the Smithsonian's National Zoo shows Tai Shan, the two-year-old giant panda cub surveying the season's first snowfall from high in a tree in his exhibit.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The National Zoo in DC says panda mother Mei Xiang is showing a spike in hormone levels, a sign that she might be pregnant again. Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated in March with semen from Tian Tian, the zoo's male giant panda. Hormone test results indicate Mei Xiang will either give birth or come to the end of a false pregnancy in late July.

There's no reliable pregnancy test for pandas, and this could be a false alarm. Mei Xiang gave birth to her first cub, Tai Shan, in July 2005, helping to boost zoo attendance and create numerous new panda fans. Scientists tried to artificially inseminate Mei Xiang last April but later determined she was not pregnant.