ANIMALS

National Zoo panda mating season starting

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It is the time of year when love is in the air at the National Zoo.

Clouded leopard cubs at National Zoo (photos)

Clouded leopard cubs at National Zoo (photos) 9 Photos
Clouded leopard cubs at National Zoo (photos)

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Zoo officials say Mei Xiang's hormone levels are rising. That means she is likely ready to breed.

The panda house is closed, but the panda cam is up and running, showing an animal inside the panda house.

The two loveable black and white animals, Tian Tian and Mei Xiang, have the opportunity to mate naturally. If not, Mei Xiang could be artificially inseminated.

A baby panda was born last summer at the zoo but it died six days later when it had liver trouble and possible lung disease.

“It was pretty sad when she lost the baby last time so I think we're hoping for a cub,” says Rose Alvarez. “I don't know what the odds are but any way they can do it.”

The pandas are a huge attraction to the zoo, with its paraphernalia being just as popular.

Tian Tian roamed his habitat Friday, giving tourists even more reason to want a baby.

“I think they're amazing,” says Dorothy Freyne.” They are a lot bigger than you think they're going to be. But I think it would be fun to have a baby to look at.”

The zoo is hoping it will have news this weekend about whether or not the pandas have mated. But until then we will just have to wait and see whether we will once again have a baby panda at the National Zoo.

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