22 February 2019
An An, who turns 31 this month, is the oldest male giant panda in captivity. Photo: Ocean Park Hong Kong
An An, who turns 31 this month, is the oldest male giant panda in captivity. Photo: Ocean Park Hong Kong

Ocean Park giant panda under watch after pregnancy signs

Ocean Park officials are monitoring giant panda Ying Ying after she showed symptoms of pregnancy, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The symptoms included reduced food intake, increased rest time, a swollen vulva and corresponding hormonal changes, said Howard Chuk, the park’s senior curator of terrestrial life sciences.

However, ultrasound examination failed to produce images of a fetus.

It is possible that Ying Ying, who is turning 12 this year, is experiencing pseudo-pregnancy, park officials said, adding experts will continue to monitor her condition.

Ying Ying and Le Le, a male giant panda who also turns 12 this year, were allowed to mate during a four-day breeding period this year. The two pandas underwent mating attempts which failed.

Dr. Huang Yan, director of scientific research and animal management of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, and Dr. Wang Chengdong, director of veterinary service, worked with their Ocean Park counterparts to get Ying Ying pregnant in March.

Ocean Park used fresh semen from Le Le and frozen semen from An An, another male giant panda, to inseminate Ying Ying artificially four times to supplement natural mating.

The theme park’s Giant Panda Adventure exhibit will be reopened to the public after Ying Ying successfully gives birth, or if she is confirmed to be not pregnant. Visitors can see An An at the Hong Kong Jockey Club Sichuan Treasures exhibit.

The three giant pandas were all born in August. An An, who turns 31 this year, is the world’s oldest male giant panda in captivity.

Ocean Park is rolling out a “buy-two-get-one-free” ticket promotion in August to encourage guests to visit the giant pandas.

Local residents who can present a valid proof of identity can obtain free tickets for children from three to 11 years old upon purchase of two adult tickets.

The promotion runs until Aug. 27.

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