TAIPEI - Taipei Zoo workers artificially inseminated the female giant panda Yuan Yuan on Saturday after she and Tuan Tuan failed to mate during this year's breeding season.
Yuan Yuan was impregnated with semen from Tuan Tuan, who was given alongside Yuan Yuan to Taiwan by China in 2008, according to Taipei Zoo spokesman Chao Ming-chieh, who added that Yuan Yuan will be artificially inseminated again on Sunday.
Birth rates among giant pandas are extremely low because female pandas only come into season once a year for a few days and many cubs born to first-time mothers die soon after they are born.
When zoo employees saw Yuan Yuan indicating her readiness to breed by lifting her tail, they quickly brought in Tuan Tuan, Chao said.
The situation looked promising in the beginning, with both pandas showing signs of affection toward each other, but Yuan Yuan soon became impatient when Tuan Tuan showed no inclination to mate, Chao added.
The encounter was brought to an end when keepers removed Tuan Tuan from Yuan Yuan's cage after she bit him, Chao said.