Tian Tian (female giant panda)

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Tian Tian at Edinburgh Zoo in 2012 Tian Tian.JPG
Tián Tián at Edinburgh Zoo in 2012
Tian Tian sitting on branches Tian Tian (Tian Tian ) sitting on branches.jpg
Tián Tián sitting on branches

Tian Tian (Chinese :甜甜; pinyin :Tián Tián, meaning "Sweetie") is a female panda born on 24 August 2003 at the Beijing Zoo from mother Niu Niu and father Ying Ying, and a former resident at Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland. [1] She arrived in Edinburgh in December 2011 [2] together with a male panda named Yáng Guāng (Chinese :陽光, meaning "sunshine"). They were the only two pandas in the United Kingdom. [3] They are on loan from the Bifengxia Breeding Centre in China at a cost of £640,000 per year. [4]


The initial ten-year loan was extended by two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic; in September 2023 it was announced that the pair would return to China in December of that year. [5]

The pandas arrived in China on December 4, 2023.


When in China Tian Tian, successfully gave birth to twins on 7 August 2009. The male cub was named Shen Wei and the female Bo Si. [6] After her arrival at Edinburgh Zoo she had an unsuccessful mating season in 2012. [7] In April 2013 Royal Zoological Society of Scotland performed on her the first artificial insemination procedure on a giant panda in the UK. They later confirm that Tian Tian had become pregnant, but most likely reabsorbed the foetus late term. [8] On 12 August 2014 Iain Valentine, Director of Giant Pandas for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, announced that a second implantation had taken place, she was pregnant and birth was expected around the end of August 2014. [9] On 22 September 2014 Edinburgh Zoo announced that she was no longer pregnant. [10] On 26 March 2015 it was announced that a third artificial insemination had taken place [11] but by August 2015 it was believed she had lost the cub. [12] [13] In October 2015 scientists said they were exploring cloning the pandas at Edinburgh Zoo. [13]

On 24 August 2017 it was revealed that Edinburgh Zoo had believed she was pregnant again after being artificially inseminated for the fifth time in 2016. [14] The expected date for a birth was as early as 25 August 2017 [14] although the Zoo said was hard to predict and the panda breeding season can last until late September. [15] On 11 September 2017, the Zoo said that Tian Tian was not pregnant and her hormone levels had returned to normal. [16]

In the media

The coverage of Tian Tian's pregnancies at Edinburgh Zoo became so widespread that BBC Radio 4 current affairs programme PM broadcast satirical daily "Possible Panda Pregnancy Update[s]". [17]

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Tiantian or Tian Tian may refer to:

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  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 June 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  4. Nicholls, Henry (2 December 2011). "What price captive pandas?". The Guardian.
  5. "Edinburgh Zoo's giant pandas to return to China in December". BBC News . 4 September 2023. Retrieved 11 September 2023.
  6. "Edinburgh Zoo | www.GiantPandaZoo.com". Archived from the original on 31 July 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  7. "Giant pandas fail to mate". The Guardian.
  8. "Edinburgh Zoo panda Tian Tian 'no longer pregnant'". BBC News. 15 October 2013.
  9. "Page not found - Edinburgh Zoo". www.edinburghzoo.org.uk.{{cite web}}: Cite uses generic title (help)
  10. "News World news Animals Edinburgh zoo says giant panda Tian Tian is no longer pregnant". The Guardian. 22 September 2014.
  11. "Giant Panda Breeding Season Update". Edinburgh Zoo. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  12. "Edinburgh zoo panda no longer believed to be pregnant". BBC News, Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland. 25 August 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  13. 1 2 "Scottish scientists looking at ways to clone Edinburgh pandas". The Guardian. 4 October 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  14. 1 2 "Edinburgh Zoo 'believes giant panda Tian Tian is pregnant'". 24 August 2017.
  15. "Edinburgh panda 'believed to be pregnant'". BBC News. 24 August 2017.
  16. Carrell, Severin (11 September 2017). "Edinburgh zoo's giant panda fails to produce cub". The Guardian.
  17. "Pandering to the media: What we can learn from Britain's panda watch". Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2014.