Hopes are rising that the first-ever panda cub could soon be born in Hong Kong, with Ocean Park reporting that giant panda Ying Ying is showing signs of being pregnant.
The giant panda, who China gave as a gift to Hong Kong in 2007 is turning 12 this month, together with male resident panda, Le Le.
Experts from the park, together with specialists from the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda in Wolong decided to close down the exhibit for a longer time than usual this year to maximize the chances of a successful pregnancy.
But Suzanne Gendron, director of the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, warned that it’s too early to confirm the good news.
“Ying Ying is experiencing what appears to be either a false pregnancy or a pregnancy. We don’t know until either she gives birth or the hormones drop back down…. [we] can confirm she’s not pregnant through that”, Gendron explained.
Ying Ying was pregnant for four months in 2015, but her cub died before birth.
The exhibit for the two pandas remained closed off even as the park threw a birthday party for them on Tuesday afternoon.
Local designers also competed in a fashion show at the park, showcasing works featuring recyclable materials. Rose Ng, a student at the Design Institute, won second place for her design featuring that panda favourite: bamboo.