London, April 23 (IANS/EFE) The Edinburgh Zoo’s female giant panda, Tian Tian, underwent artificial insemination over the weekend after she and the facility’s male panda, Yang Guang, failed to mate, a zoo spokeswoman said.
Yang Guang (Sunshine) showed interest in Tian Tian (Sweetie), but natural mating did not occur, the zoo spokeswoman said.
Artificial insemination was carried out early Sunday, the zoo spokeswoman said.
The zoo had hoped that Tian Tian and Yang Guang would mate this year after the two failed to get romantic in 2012.
The pandas, which are the zoo’s stars, arrived in Scotland in 2011 from the reserve in Sichuan, China.
Yang Guang and Tian Tian, both 9, live in a new enclosure whose remodeling cost 250,000 pounds ($381,000).
Zoo officials are hoping that the pair will have offspring, a rare occurrence in captivity.
China leased the bears to the zoo for 700,000 pounds ($1.06 million) annually.
Scotland provides an ideal habitat for the pandas, who live in the frigid mountains of Sichuan, the zoo said.