Cross your fingers for a baby panda at the National Zoo.
The zoo announced Monday that they artificially inseminated 21-year-old giant panda Mei Xiang after she displayed signs that she was ready to breed.
“This is another milestone in our long-standing and successful mission-critical 47-year giant panda conservation program and collaboration with Chinese colleagues to study, care for and help save the giant panda and its native habitat,” Steven Monfort of the zoo said in a statement.
Panda Watch: Mei Xiang’s Hormones Rise
“Our team carefully planned this procedure with the safety of staff and Mei Xiang as the number one priority, taking extra precautions due to COVID-19," he added.
Reproductive scientists, veterinarians and panda keepers artificially inseminated Mei Xiang with frozen semen from Tian Tian, her male panda companion.
The panda couple’s last cub, Bei Bei, moved to China in November. The empty-nesters may be hoping for a new cub to keep them company.
We won’t know if the procedure was successful for a few months, since panda pregnancies last between three to six months, according to the National Zoo.
While you wait, you can keep up with Mei Xiang and Tian Tian even during the zoo’s closure by watching the Giant Panda Cam livestream here.