Hopes of another panda cub's birth in Taiwan's Taipei Zoo were dashed when experts determined that pregnancy signs displayed by Yuan Yuan had been faked by the animal in order to secure better conditions during the summer. Yuan, one of a pair given to Taiwan as gifts by the Chinese mainland, had shown signs of pregnancy such as loss of appetite, thickening of the uterus and increased fecal progesterone concentration since June 11.

But panda experts, who flew from China, determined through ultrasound checks that Yuan was not pregnant, a news agency reported.

The 11-year-old had been artificially inseminated on March 26 and 27 when she was on heat, according to a zoo spokesman. Pandas thought to be pregnant are moved into single rooms with air conditioning and round-the-clock care and also receive more fruits and bamboo.

Experts believe clever pandas display behaviour similar to pregnancy to improve their quality of life after noticing the difference in treatment they receive.

Yuan, which went to Taiwan with Tuan Tuan, gave birth to her first and only cub Yuan Zai in July 2013. The names of the pair produce the Chinese phrase tuan yuan which means reunion. They are among the most popular attractions at the zoo.


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