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Edinburgh Zoo criticised for “invasive” panda procedure

This news post is about 9 years old

Charity OneKind calls for artificial insemination efforts to stop following confirmation of latest attempt

Animal protection charity OneKind has blasted Edinburgh Zoo’s latest artificial insemination attempt to produce a panda cub.

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) confirmed the procedure took place on Tian Tian the female giant panda using semen from the male panda Yang Guang.

OneKind policy director Libby Anderson once again criticised the zoo for the lengths it has gone to create a cub – particularly in forcing the giant panda to undergo the “invasive process” several times in the last three years – and reiterated a call for it to stop.

“Unlike a human mother who makes the choice to undergo artificial insemination, Tian Tian has no say in whether she has these procedures,” Anderson said.

“OneKind has always believed that it is misguided to attempt to breed more captive pandas in Edinburgh Zoo when they will never return to the wild or improve protection for the wild population in their native habitat.

“We are extremely disappointed to hear that the zoo is going down the route of artificial insemination again following previous unsuccessful attempts to breed from Tian Tian.

“We think that now is the time to leave these animals in peace and OneKind has expressed this view to the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.”

Iain Valentine, director of giant pandas for the RZSS, confirmed the procedure and said the panda enclosure would remain closed until Sunday (29 March).

He added: “Natural mating will also be attempted before the short breeding window comes to a close as both pandas remain extremely interested in one another, but as Tian Tian’s transition to peak was so rapid it was a priority to move straight to artificial insemination first.

“Tian Tian is doing very well and everything went according to plan.”