Double trouble: Toronto Zoo giant panda pregnant with twins

The Toronto Zoo has announced that the zoo’s giant female panda, who is on loan from China as part of a breeding program, is pregnant with twins.

Toronto Zoo's Er Shun the giant panda is pregnant with twins.

Toronto Zoo's Er Shun the giant panda is pregnant with twins. Image by Benson Kua / CC BY 2.0

On 25 September, staff found a fetal heartbeat on an ultrasound. A second ultrasound was done on 29 September, and much to the surprise of staff, a second heartbeat was found, notes the release. The panda had undergone two artificial inseminations earlier in the year.

The first ultrasound of Er Shun shows a heartbeat.

The first ultrasound of Er Shun shows a heartbeat. Image by Toronto Zoo

However, they note while it is a positive sign, the next few weeks are very critical and staff members are “cautiously hopeful for healthy births”.

Unfortunately, the excitement over another panda pregnancy in Hong Kong has turned to sadness, as news that the giant panda Ying Ying, housed at Ocean Park, lost her baby in a miscarriage, according to the South China Morning Post.

The panda was set to be the first born in captivity in Hong Kong and no reason for the miscarriage has been determined.

Breeding pandas in captivity is frequently a difficult process as females ovulate once a year.

To see video of the Toronto Zoo ultrasound visit YouTube.

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