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Berlin Zoo confirms panda Meng Meng is pregnant

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Berlin Zoo confirms panda Meng Meng is pregnant
Meng Meng the panda in Berlin. Photo: DPA
12:44 CEST+02:00
Berlin's beloved panda Meng Meng is expecting a cub, the zoo announced on Tuesday.

"We are delighted with the news," said Berlin 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.

The zoo tweeted the good news, showing an ultrasound picture of the "mini panda".ย 

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.

READ ALSO: The diva and the dude: A year of Berlin's beloved pandas

They are the only pandas currently in Germany, housed in an enclosure that cost nine million euros.

"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 in Berlin Zoo in October 2018. Photo: DPA

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.

Baby fever

And Meng Meng is not the only animal eyeing up parenthood in the zoo in recent weeks. A gay penguin couple, who tried to hatch a stone, have adopted an egg.

READ ALSO: Gay penguins in Berlin adopt egg after trying to hatch a stone

It's not clear yet if the egg has been fertilized, but Skipper and Ping have been caring for the egg in their bid to become parents. ย 

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