?HK zoo expecting its first ever panda birth

HONG KONG: It’s a happy moment that’s been a long time coming, but after years of trying, Hong Kong panda Ying Ying is finally expecting a cub, keepers said Thursday, a first ever for the southern Chinese city.

The 10-year-old panda began showing signs of pregnancy in July, after several attempts — both natural and artificial — at insemination, said a spokeswoman for Ocean Park, where the animal lives.

In early September this year, China-born Ying Ying started eating less, sleeping more and displayed heightened sensitivity to sound and her surroundings, she added.

“After repeated ultrasound scans conducted in late September, it was confirmed that Ying Ying is carrying a foetus.”

Her baby would be the first giant panda born in Hong Kong, and officials said they were “cautiously optimistic” about the pregnancy.

A team of specialists has been assigned to keep an eye on her and park managers are trying to make the mum-to-be as comfortable as possible. Ying Ying is expected to deliver in about one week.