Washington -- The National Zoo's giant female panda has been artificially inseminated in hopes that she will give birth to a second cub.
The zoo says the female, Mei Xiang (may-SHONG), and the male, Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN), attempted to mate Thursday but were unsuccessful.
Veterinarians performed the artificial insemination Saturday. It could be months before they know whether the insemination was successful.
Zoo officials say this year's mating attempt occurred unusually early in the year. Mei Xiang typically has ovulated in March or early April.
Giant pandas have a brief breeding season, mating for only a day or two each year.
Mei Xiang has been successfully artificially inseminated before, leading to the birth of cub Tai Shan in 2005.