Call off the watch: National Zoo panda isn’t pregnant

Mei Xiang, one of the giant pandas at the National Zoo, isn't pregnant. (Courtesy Smithsonian National Zoo)

WASHINGTON – Sorry, panda fans; it turns out Mei Xiang, one of the giant pandas at the National Zoo, isn’t pregnant.

The zoo said in a statement Thursday that Mei Xiang had been having a “pseudopregnancy” over the past few months, since being artificially inseminated March 1.

Starting in early May, her hormones rose the way they would if she was pregnant, and she was behaving the way she would too, the zoo said, but the hormones returned to normal July 1, and an ultrasound Thursday confirmed that there’s no panda fetus. She won’t give birth this year, the zoo added.

Mei Xiang’s “denning” behaviors will ease up, the zoo said, and they expect she’ll be back to normal in a few weeks. The panda house had been closed because of the possible pregnancy, but it will reopen Thursday.

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