THE COLD start to the year has been blamed by scientists for the slow start to Edinburgh Zoo’s giant pandas’ mating season.
Experts at the zoo are continuing to monitor female Tian Tian’s hormone levels and beahviour to determine the optimum time to introduce the pair to breed.
Visting Chinese expert Professor Wang said the cold spring is likely to have slowed down Tian Tian’s hormones, meaning she is taking a little longer to peak than usual.
Tian Tian and male Yang Guang enjoyed the day’s sunshine by spending time in each other’s enclosures this morning and afternoon, where the male sat eagerly on her bed before entering the off show area to interact with his mate through a grate.
A spokeswoman for the zoo said: “Tian Tian’s response was very encouraging, with much more chirruping in her calls, but there was still a touch of barking as well.
“We are still waiting for the barking to soften out of her calling completely, which is her indication that she has hit peak and is ready.”
Tian Tian’s hormones have continued to climb throughout the week and once her oestrogen levels peak and drop away dramatically she will be in season and ready to mate.
When she is ready, the pair will be introduced up to three times a day for 15-30 minute intervals.
The bears will swap enclosures again tomorrow morning.