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Keepers watching closely as Edinburgh pandas look ready to mate

Zoo keepers in Edinburgh have seen a change in the hormone levels of the female panda Tian Tian, sparking hopes that she may come in to season for only the second time since arriving in Scotland.

Male panda Yang Guang eats bamboo in a bid to bulk up ahead of breeding season. Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Iain Valentine, Director of Giant Pandas said: "The greatly anticipated hormone crossover has now been spotted in Tian Tian our female giant panda - her oestrogen is rising and her progesterone level has fallen through the floor.

"Every individual panda is different so it is difficult to predict exactly when the panda breeding season will be.

"Based on last year we would expect her to come into season 11 days from crossover, however her strong behavioural changes do not rule out that it could be even sooner than this.

"We'll be continuing to watch her behaviour closely and continuing to hormone test her urine twice a day."

Earlier in the year Yang Guang had started to show signs that he was ready to mate sparking hopes that Edinburgh Zoo could see some panda cubs in the future.