Giant Panda Conservation Breeding Program Update
Two Fetal Heartbeats Seen On Er Shun's Recent Ultrasounds
Friday, September 25, 2015 first fetus detected
Tuesday, September 29, 2015 second fetus detected
Photo Credit: Toronto Zoo
Toronto, ON, Wednesday, September 30, 2015: On May 14, 2015, Er Shun, the Toronto Zoo's female giant panda on loan from China as part of a conservation breeding program, underwent two non-surgical artificial insemination (AI) procedures. Zoo staff and a giant panda breeding expert from Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China, used sperm collected from Da Mao for the first procedure and frozen sperm collected from two giant pandas in China that were imported to Toronto Zoo in 2014, for the second AI.
Giant pandas have what is called delayed implantation and the gestation period is anywhere from 87 to 186 days from the date of insemination. Since the AI procedure, Toronto Zoo staff from the Wildlife Health Centre, Reproductive Programs and Wildlife Care have been continuously monitoring Er Shun for any physiological and behavioural changes to determine if she is pregnant. As well, Dr. Cathy Gartley, a veterinarian from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph has been conducting regular ultrasounds on Er Shun.
On Friday, September 25, 2015, a fetal heartbeat was seen on the ultrasound. Another ultrasound was conducted on Tuesday, September 29, 2015 and, much to our surprise, we captured an image of a second panda fetus. While this is a positive sign, the following three to four weeks are very critical. Toronto Zoo staff are cautiously hopeful for healthy births within this time frame. We will continue to provide updates as they become available and we encourage everyone to follow us on this incredible journey.
We would like to thank the following for their ongoing support of the Giant Panda Conservation Breeding Program:
Memphis Zoo for providing us with weekly shipments of bamboo.
FedEx Canada for the transportation of the weekly shipments of bamboo, and for providing transportation for Da Mao and Er Shun from China to Toronto.
Mandarin Restaurants for their continuing financial support of the Giant Panda Experience at the Toronto Zoo.
*NOTE TO MEDIA*
Media are asked to arrive at the Zoo's front entrance no later than 9:50am on Wednesday, 2015-09-30 for interview opportunities with Dr. Christopher Dutton, Head of Veterinary Services, Maria Franke, Curator - Mammals and Dr. Gabriela Mastromonaco, Curator - Reproductive Programs and Research, between 10:00am and 11:00am at the Giant Panda Experience.
If you wish to make arrangements for a live remote truck please confirm with Jennifer Tracey, Senior Director of Marketing, Communications and Partnerships, firstname.lastname@example.org or #416-669-7074 no later than 9:00am.
Please CLICK HERE for more information on Giant Panda Conservation at the Toronto Zoo.
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