The giant pandas at Edinburgh Zoo will be ready to mate within two weeks, keepers have revealed.
They hope Tian Tian and the zoo's male panda Yang Guang will produce a cub this year as the creatures both start to show the tell-tale signs that they are ready to breed.
There was disappointment last year when the pair did not mate, and although Tian Tian was artificially inseminated, she lost her foetus at late term.
Experts will watch Tian Tian's behaviour closely to gauge when her 36-hour breeding window begins.
Tian Tian (Sweetie) and Yang Guang (Sunshine) are the first giant pandas to live in the UK for 17 years. They arrived on loan from China in December 2011 and will remain at Edinburgh Zoo for a decade.
Zoo keepers have begun a daily monitoring of the UK's giant panda couple as mating season approaches.
Edinburgh Zoo hopes Tian Tian and Yang Guang will produce a cub this year as the creatures start to show the tell-tale signs they are ready to breed.
There was disappointment last year when the pair did not mate and though Tian Tian was artificially inseminated she lost her foetus at late term.
Panda reproduction is a notoriously tricky process, with females only ovulating once a year.
A time-lapse video has captured the first 100 days of two giant panda cubs born in the United States.Read the full story ›
Edinburgh Zoo's giant panda Tian Tian is no longer pregnant, keepers have revealed.
Hopes were raised after Tian Tian showed signs of pregnancy, after she was artificially inseminated.
Tian Tian had been keeping keepers at Edinburgh Zoo guessing over her possible pregnancy since she was artificially inseminated in April.
In August, experts noted signs that she was pregnant and it was hoped a panda cub would be born by September and the panda enclosure was closed three weeks ago.
Chris West, Chief Executive Officer for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland said:
“The panda enclosure will remain closed until the end of the week, in order to give Tian Tian time to get back into her routine and provide her keepers with the chance to recuperate after this long period of waiting.”
Experts at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland believe giant panda Tian Tian "conceived and carried a foetus until late term, but then lost it".
We are all saddened by this turn ofevents after so many weeks of waiting.
Timings are difficult to pinpoint atthis moment, but we had a meeting this morning where Tian Tian’s behaviour and hormone results were reviewed and have come to the conclusion that it is very likely she has lost the pregnancy.
Giant panda Tian Tian is not expecting a cub, keepers at Edinburgh Zoo have confirmed.
Fourteen newborn panda cubs in China were taken outside to enjoy the sunshine and meet visitors for the first time.
Staff lined the babies up in rows and fed them in front of visitors at the Chengdu Panda Breeding Center in China's Sichuan Province.
There are four pairs of twins among the 14 pandas.
Edinburgh Zoo has admitted it is "really difficult" to tell if a female panda is pregnant as the wait goes on for a possible sighting of cubs.
Edinburgh Zoo said in a statement: "Panda breeding is not a precise science and combined with this each animal has their own individual biology - and Tian Tian is definitely not a text book panda!
“Whilst Tian Tian continues to behave like she’s pregnant and whilst her hormones, behaviour and physical changes suggest the same, we will continue to manage her accordingly; as soon as we know otherwise we will of course announce this.
"To put it into context, there are no experts around the world who can say definitively how long a giant panda pregnancy is."
The zoo can still not confirm whether or not Tian Tian is pregnant.
Edinburgh Zoo's female panda Tian Tian is still looking like she could give birth any day.
Her keepers say she continues to show all the positive hormonal and physical signs of being pregnant and in recent days apart from becoming increasingly sensitive to noise she's become rather grumpy and aggressive.
The panda enclosures will remain closed off to the public for at least the next five days during which time those looking after Tian Tian hope she will have a panda cub.
It may seem rather strange to have such uncertainty surrounding a pregnancy and over such an extended time but panda gestation periods are hard to determine and in the case of Tian Tian experts say she is an especially complicated case.
Her behaviour and blood levels are being monitored 24-hours a day so if she shows any signs of going into labour or having lost her babies keepers will be able to tell straight away.
There's apparently a bet among staff at the zoo that she'll keep us guessing till this weekend. The wait goes on.