4 Apr 2012

Pressure on two captive giant pandas to mate

8:21 pm on 4 April 2012

Keepers at Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland say they are optimistic that their two giant pandas will mate on Wednesday, despite declining to do so when they shared an enclosure on Monday.

Breeding pandas in captivity is difficult and the pressure is on Tian Tian and her companion Yang Guang, because female pandas only ovulate for 36 hours each year.

The animals have been a huge hit with Scottish crowds since arriving from China in December and are the first giant pandas to live in the United Kingdom for 17 years.

Tian Tian has had twin cubs in the past, and Yang Guang has also fathered cubs.