Zoo Atlanta’s Veterinary Team has observed a viable fetus during routine ultrasound procedures on female giant panda Lun Lun. Ultrasound images obtained since Monday the 18th confirm a growing fetus with a strong heartbeat. Based on the size of the fetus, which is currently 2.24 centimeters long, the Animal Management and Veterinary Teams estimate that a birth should occur in 10 days to 2 weeks. While cautiously optimistic, experts caution that Lun Lun could still miscarry or reabsorb the fetus as her pregnancy progresses.
Round-the-clock birth watch began on Monday, October 18 and will continue through birth and the first months of the cub’s life. Giant panda gestation averages 135 days, but can range from 83 to 197 days.
A cub would be the third offspring for Lun Lun and Yang Yang, both 13. The Animal Management and Veterinary Teams opted to employ artificial insemination (AI) on June 13, 2010, after the pair failed to mate naturally. Lun Lun’s and Yang Yang’s previous offspring, Mei Lan, 4 and now a resident of Chengdu, China, and Xi Lan, 2, a resident of Zoo Atlanta, were the only cubs born in the U.S. in 2006 and 2008. Both were the products of AI.
Additional updates will be provided as details are available. The Zoo’s giant pandas are watched daily by fans around the world on PandaCam presented by Earthcam. PandaCam, which runs Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., has remained the most visited page on zooatlanta.org since shortly after the arrival of Lun Lun and Yang Yang in 1999.
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