WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Chinese veterinarian has performed an artificial insemination on the National Zoo's female giant panda, Mei Xiang (may-SHONG).

Animal keepers detected a rise in panda hormone levels and breeding behaviors this week. A team of scientists performed the artificial insemination Saturday morning after animal keepers determined there was no natural breeding overnight between Mei Xiang and male panda Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN).

Veterinarian Tang Chunxiang traveled from China's Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda to assist. The zoo says a second procedure will likely be performed later Saturday.

Mei Xiang delivered a cub last year, but the tiny female died six days later. Her only surviving offspring, Tai Shan (tie-SHON), was born in 2005.

The panda house has been closed since Tuesday but is set to reopen Sunday.



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