| Edinburgh's female panda artificially inseminated|
|Tian Tian, the UK's only female giant panda, has been artificially inseminated at Edinburgh Zoo after scientists scrutinising her behaviour decided she was exhibiting signs that were not "conducive to mating".|
A team of experts monitoring Tian Tian and her prospective mate, Yang Guang, for the past week, opted to perform the procedure on Sunday as the female panda neared what is unromantically known as her "36-hour breeding window".
The zoo said the insemination had gone very much to plan, and the pandas would be taken off display until Tuesday.
"Edinburgh Zoo's specialist team and experts from around the world performed artificial insemination on female giant panda Tian Tian in the early hours of this morning," said a spokeswoman.
"Natural mating was not attempted. Yang Guang had been interested and shown consistently encouraging behaviour. However, based on his many years' experience, our Chinese colleague Professor Wang felt that although Tian Tian had displayed all of the correct behaviours, she had also displayed signs that told him she would not be conducive to mating."
She said the pandas and the humans involved in the efforts to help them breed were enjoying a rest.
On Friday, Wang confirmed the unusually cold start to spring might have slowed Tian Tian's hormones, but said the recent sunny weather should help raise levels.
His team had noticed she was showing signs of nearing readiness, including grumpiness and loss of appetite.
The male and female pandas are kept in separate enclosures throughout the year and come together only for mating. For the past week, however, keepers have swapped them between enclosures in an effort to prepare them for mating.
Tian Tian and Yang Guang were also able to interact with a grate keeping them apart.
The team had been hopeful that the pair would mate naturally, but said last week Tian Tian would also be artificially inseminated to increase her chances of getting pregnant.
If Tian Tian becomes pregnant, confirmation would come in mid-July when she will have an ultrasound scan. It would then be likely that her cub, or cubs, are born at the end of August or the beginning of September.
Tian Tian and Yang Guang arrived in Scotland from China in December 2011 and have become a popular attraction, with visits from about 500,000 people in their first year, including actor Nicole Kidman and the Princess Royal.