We're going to have to wait a while longer for a new bundle of panda joy.
National Zoo officials hoped 19-year-old giant panda Mei Xiang was pregnant, but it turns out she was experiencing what's called a pseudopregnancy, officials said Thursday.
Zoo endocrinologists monitored the panda's hormones after she was artificially inseminated in March. The zoo temporarily closed the panda house on Jun. 24, expecting a pregnancy.
Mei Xiang's hormones did rise in early May, which indicated she could give birth to a cub in 40 to 50 days. But then her hormones returned to “baseline” levels on Sunday, indicating she had a pseudopregnancy. A final ultrasound conducted on Thursday confirmed there was no developing fetus.
Mei Xiang has given birth at the National Zoo to three surviving panda cubs with 20-year-old panda Tian Tian: Tai Shan, Bao Bao and Bei Bei.
Tai Shan and Bao Bao now live in China. Bei Bei, the youngest, will be moved to China by the time he turns 4 years old in August 2019.
The panda house reopened Thursday. Visitors can also view the pandas through the 24-hour panda cam on the zoo’s website.