Wednesday, September 30, 2015
There is such exciting news coming out today from the Toronto Zoo. It appears that Er Shun, the female giant panda on loan to the Zoo, is pregnant with twins! Er Shun and her male companion, Da Mao, arrived at the Toronto Zoo in May 2013, as part of a conservation breeding program. She was artificially inseminated this past May, with sperm from Da Mao, and then again with frozen sperm collected from two giant pandas in China - so we still don't know who's the daddy. (As I recall, Da Mao was showing no interest in breeding behaviour, so the AI route was chosen.)
Since May, Er Shun has been carefully monitored for behavioural or physiological signs of pregnancy, and has bee receiving regular investigative ultrasounds. Last Friday, Zoo staff found the first fetal heartbeat. Then, just yesterday, another ultrasound showed a second fetus! This is truly exciting news for this critically endangered species.
It is thought that Er Shun will likely deliver in about 3 weeks, and everyone is hopeful for a healthy outcome.
You can visit the Toronto Zoo's press website for lots of background information on the pandas, their habits, and conservation efforts. And you can follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for updates on Er Shun's pregnancy and babies.