Pandering to Tian Tian might have worked animal magic

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In among the bad news last week – of people struggling in Gaza, Iraq; of talk of death and tragedies at sea – there was a piece of good news that made me smile.

It was the announcement from Edinburgh Zoo that Tian Tian, the giant panda, has been knocked up. Or at least, might be knocked up. No-one really knows because it’s almost impossible to tell whether a panda is pregnant until she gives birth.

But her keepers hope artificial insemination in April has worked and the zoo will be host to a baby giant panda by the end of August.

Pandas are threatened because of loss of habitat and their notorious reluctance to get on with each other to the point when baby pandas are made, so it’s good to think there might be Tian Tian junior in a couple of weeks.