National

Tokyo zoo to remove panda showing signs of pregnancy from public display

Kyodo

A Tokyo zoo said Tuesday it will stop displaying a giant panda believed to have become pregnant.

Ueno Zoological Gardens said it will remove Shin Shin, 11, from public viewing from Thursday, after she began showing signs of pregnancy last week. A urine test has also indicated the panda is pregnant, the zoo said.

If Shin Shin is pregnant, she will most likely give birth around late May or early June. Her offspring would be the first giant panda cub to be born at the park in five years.

Shin Shin and male panda Ri Ri, also 11, had a cub in 2012 but it died from pneumonia six days after birth.

The panda pair mated three times in late February but a zoo official said her signs of pregnancy could be false because phantom pregnancies have been commonly observed among giant pandas.

Shin Shin also showed signs of pregnancy in 2013 but it was a false pregnancy.

She appears to be in good health but the zoo decided to remove her from display to give her some time out of the spotlight, said Mikako Kaneko, a zoo official.

Ri Ri’s exhibition will continue as scheduled.