Keepers are hoping the pitter patter of little feet will soon be heard at the San Diego Zoo panda enclosure in California, USA after the giant pandas were brought together for mating this week.
Bai Yun and Gao Gao the resident panda couple have produced five offspring in the past. Their last breeding attempt was in 2012.
Researchers from the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research have been keeping a close eye on Bai Yuns estrus levels to see when she came into estrus. Animal care staff meanwhile have been watching for physical signs she is in season such as scent marking and vocalising.
Keepers opened the doors between the two main habitats meaning the pandas could gain access to each other. If the pandas continue to show interest in each other they may get to interact again.
While this morning introductions progressed the Panda Cam was turned off and the panda viewing area closed. Staff were on hand to keep a close eye on whether mating occurred.
Female giant pandas are only in season for 48 to 72 hours of the year. It will be unclear if the breeding season will be a success until July 2015. San Diego Zoo has done amazing work with saving the critically endangered giant pandas. They have bred six pandas at the zoo since 1999.
Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo/ Tammy Spratt