Berlin Zoo panda Meng Meng is pregnant, with her cub expected to be born within two weeks, it was announced Tuesday.
“We are delighted with the news,” said zoo director Andreas Knieriem after an ultrasound scan confirmed the pregnancy.
Berlin Zoo says the size of the foetus and the results of hormonal analysis suggest the birth will take place within a fortnight.
Meng Meng, which means ‘Little Dream’, and her mate Jiao Qing, ‘Little Treasure’, have been living in Berlin Zoo since 2017.
Their arrival in the German capital was greeted by both Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
They are the only pandas currently in Germany, housed in an enclosure that cost nine million euros ($10 million).
“Every birth of an endangered species like pandas is a great gift,” added Knieriem, who pointed out how difficult it is to breed pandas.
Meng Meng was artificially inseminated, to increase the chances of conceiving, after the pandas mated.
Under China’s ‘panda diplomacy’, the animals, considered national treasures, are effectively on loan to other countries.
Any panda cubs born abroad must be returned to China within four years, after they have been weaned.
China has sent giant pandas to only a dozen countries, including France, where a baby cub, Yuan Meng, was born last year and turned one this month. — AFP