London: Edinburgh Zoo's Giant Panda Tian Tian, the first female panda to live at a UK zoo in 17 years, has conceived after being artificially inseminated earlier this year.
Zoo keepers have been raising hopes that Tian Tian will be third time lucky after she failed to mate with male panda Yang Guang in 2012 and lost a foetus late in pregnancy in 2013.
After urine tests found she has successfully conceived following an artificial insemination in April, a major hurdle has been cleared in Edinburgh zoo's bid to add to its panda family.
If the embryo has successfully implanted into Tian-Tian's womb, a baby panda could arrive as early as next month, Edinburgh News reported today.
Giant pandas Tian Tian, which means Sweetie, and Yang Guang, which means Sunshine, became the first to live at a UK zoo in 17 years when they arrived in December 2011. The pair are on loan from China until 2021.
Giant Pandas are one of the world's most endangered species. About 1,600 live in the wild, mostly in the mountains of Sichuan province in southwest China, while more than 300 live in captivity.