Source AP ©

Pregnant panda at Memphis Zoo miscarries, ultrasound shows

A giant panda at the Memphis Zoo has miscarried and is no longer pregnant, an ultrasound test showed Wednesday.

"It was sad, but it was in the early stages of growth and it's not uncommon for young mammals to lose their first offsprings with miscarriages," zoo president Chuck Brady said.

Ya Ya, a 6-year-old panda on loan from China was artificially inseminated in January, and the zoo announced in May that she was pregnant.

The miscarriage was caused by Ya Ya's low level of the hormone progesterone, and she was not harmed by the pregnancy, Brady said.

The fetal tissue in Ya Ya's uterus had not yet begun to differentiate into a form recognizable as a baby panda. The gestational sac in which the fetal cells had begun to grow will be expelled natural.

Ya Ya, whose name means "beautiful little girl" in Chinese, can come and go from her enclosed quarters and will be back on display for zoo visitors at her choosing.

Zoo officials turned to artificial insemination after Ya Ya and her male companion, 8-year-old Le Le, failed to breed naturally.

Another attempt at mating will be tried in January or February, and artificial insemination will follow once again if that fails, Brady said.

The two pandas were brought to the Memphis Zoo in 2003 and are housed in a $16- million (euro12-million) "China Pavilion" built for them.

Three other U.S. zoos - San Diego, Washington and Atlanta - have giant pandas. The most recent panda cub born in the U.S. is Mei Lan, who was born in September in Atlanta.

Pandas are notoriously poor breeders - one reason their species is endangered - and females have only three days a year in which they can conceive.

Comments
Putin's three days in Singapore mark Russia's major geopolitical changes since 2000
Russians lose faith in their future, get ready for worse
Macron challenges Trump. French independence and croissants at stake
Russia unveils nuclear-powered interstellar spaceship
Russia unveils nuclear-powered interstellar spaceship
Moving inexorably towards war
Russians lose faith in their future, get ready for worse
Sanctions do not stop foreign countries from buying Russia's S-400 systems
Sanctions do not stop foreign countries from buying Russia's S-400 systems
Russians lose faith in their future, get ready for worse
Russians lose faith in their future, get ready for worse
Putin dislikes the idea of US army bases coming to Kuril Islands
NATO to build prestrike staging base in Georgia
NATO to build prestrike staging base in Georgia
The difference between Polish and Ukrainian nationalism is plain to see
Sanctions do not stop foreign countries from buying Russia's S-400 systems
Sanctions do not stop foreign countries from buying Russia's S-400 systems
Russia rips its economy apart with help from the West
Hillary in 2020?
NATO to build prestrike staging base in Georgia
Russia close to recognising Donetsk and Luhansk republics after Donbass elections