Panda in Japan may be pregnant, zookeepers hope for safe birth

A panda at Tokyo’s Ueno zoo appears to be pregnant, zoo officials said on May 19.

The pana is 11-year-old Shin Shin.

Zoo officials are hopeful, but it may be a pseudo-pregnancy. That is when a panda isn’t actually pregnant but exhibits the same behavior as pregnant pandas.

“We’d like to thoroughly check whether it’s a pregnancy, which we hope it is, and then we will prepare for the delivery,” said Hirofumi Watabe, deputy head of Ueno Zoo. “The previous cub died after six days. Raising them at the early stage is very difficult, so we want to properly prepare this time for the delivery and nurture.”

Shin Shin and her partner, Ri Ri, arrived in Japan from China in 2011. Shin Shin gave birth the next year, but the cub died. That was the first panda born at Ueno Zoo in 24 years.

This time, zookeepers and Japanese people hope it will go smoothly.

‘We have high hopes for her and we’re all betting on her safe delivery. We believe it will be ok this time,” said Rie Nishimura, a 40-year-old Tokyo resident.