WASHINGTON - A Chinese veterinarian has performed an artificial insemination on the National Zoo's female giant panda, Mei Xiang (may-SHONG).
Animal keepers detected a rise in hormone levels and breeding behaviors this week.
A team of scientists performed the artificial insemination Saturday morning after animal keepers determined there was no natural breeding overnight between Mei Xiang and male panda Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN).
Veterinarian Tang Chunxiang traveled from China's Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda to assist.
The zoo says a second procedure was expected to be performed later Saturday.
Mei Xiang delivered a cub last year, but the tiny female died six days later. Her only surviving offspring, Tai Shan (tie-SHON), was born in 2005.