Time runs out for zoo’s pandas to mate

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Britain’s only pandas have run out of time to mate as their limited breeding season drew to a close.

Tian Tian and Yang Guang had a window of just 36 hours to mate and despite “natural sparks” flying between them, the pair did not do the deed.

Keepers at Edinburgh Zoo hoped for one final chance to put them together yesterday but test results late on Wednesday night showed a drop in the female bear’s hormone levels.

They met five times on Tuesday and several times again on Wednesday and had shown signs of attraction to each other.

However, the zoo said the level of interest had passed and limited breeding behaviour was seen in both pandas yesterday morning.

A “love tunnel” between their enclosures had been opened on Tuesday when tests indicated Tian Tian had ovulated. They had shown “encouraging” signs, with ended with the pair “wrestling”.

Keepers say that while a baby panda would have been a “bonus”, it is only the first attempt in a 10-year project.