Archive for June, 2007

Memphis No Longer Expecting Panda Baby

June 19th, 2007

I was very sad when my Dad read me this about the Panda baby that they were expecting in Memphis:

“No baby panda for Ya Ya

By Trey Heath, June 14, 2007

After days of urine tests, ultrasounds and dwindling hope, Memphis Zoo officials confirmed Wednesday that giant panda Ya Ya is no longer pregnant.

“At this point we are calling it a miscarriage,” said Matt Thompson, curator of mammals

“Through the ultrasound you could still see the embryonic sack, but the walls were thinner and were starting to collapse in on themselves and that is the beginning of a miscarriage. There was also still no development in the sack itself.”

Ya Ya was artificially inseminated in January after she and male panda Le Le failed to mate.
Zoo officials became suspicious that the pregnancy could be in danger last week after Ya Ya’s progesterone level began dropping to normal levels. Doctors never did find a heartbeat of the fetus during ultrasounds.

“The doctor confirmed it via ultrasound but we have been following her hormone levels through urine tests. They basically returned back to normal 10 days ago.”

Ya Ya’s failed pregnancy is perfectly natural for a mammal of her size and age and should not limit any chances for her to conceive a baby in the future, Thompson said.

“It bears nothing bad for the future at all,” he said. “This is a very common thing with young mammals.”

Thompson said that while everyone was looking forward to a new baby panda, the past few weeks have been a learning experience that he hopes to build on for next year, when zoo scientists will try again.

Zoo scientists have collected enough sperm from Le Le to inseminate Ya Ya for the next four years.

“We are not discouraged, just disappointed for this year,” he said

“Now that it’s over, we can go back and examine all the data we collected in regards to her behavior and hormones and even the ultrasound images … and try again next year.” “