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Sexual Selection

Tian Tian and Yang Guang, the two giant pandas living at Edinburgh Zoo, have failed to mate leaving eager panda watchers waiting for another year. Zoo Keepers had been measuring hormone levels in Tian Tian and began the process of introducing them last week.

Sweetie and Sunshine, their names in English, were allowed to move into each others cages to spread their scent and playfully wrestled but no mating occurred. A female panda ovulates once a year for 36 hours making the window for conception extremely small and difficult. The pandas arrived in Scotland from China five months ago but being thousands of miles away from their natural habitat does not appear to have caused major problems. It was even thought that a particularly cold week in Scotland would encourage reproduction.