Will their efforts bear fruit? River Safari hopeful of giant panda pregnancy
Keepers at the River Safari are hoping to have good news to share, after giant female panda Jia Jia was artificially inseminated to maximise chances of a pregnancy.
Jia Jia and Kai Kai - Singapore's only giant panda couple - were put together for natural mating on March 30, after which Jia Jia was inseminated, Wildlife Reserves Singapore said in a statement yesterday.
Giant pandas are notoriously difficult to breed as females have only one reproductive cycle per year, and are fertile for just 24 hours.
For Jia Jia, attempts at both natural mating and artificial insemination have failed in the past two years.
The River Safari team also turned to Professor Ng Soon Chye, an obstetrics and gynaecology specialist internationally renowned for his expertise in human reproductive medicine, to assist the veterinary team during the insemination.
In preparation for the possible arrival of a baby panda, Jia Jia has been receiving daily conditioning sessions from a team of keepers at the Giant Panda Forest.
The keepers collect urine samples from Jia Jia to monitor its hormone levels - a gradual increase in progesterone levels indicates a possible pregnancy or pseudo pregnancy.
The outcome will be known only between August and September.
Meanwhile, Jia Jia is on folic acid - a prenatal and pregnancy supplement - and its keepers are hoping for a positive pregnancy test.
- THE STRAITS TIMES