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Ocean Park Saddened by Loss of Foetus in Giant Panda Ying Ying

2015-10-07

(7 October 2015 – Hong Kong) Ocean Park is saddened to announce that Ying Ying’s foetus is no longer viable based on ultrasound scans performed this week. This is despite Ying Ying showing signs of a pregnancy earlier last week. Ocean Park and Wolong specialist teams will continue to work closely together to better understand the foetal reabsorption situation, and to monitor Ying Ying’s condition, ensuring that she remains healthy.

Since the confirmation of Ying Ying’s pregnancy through ultrasound scans in late September, Ocean Park and Wolong specialist teams have been closely monitoring her condition on a 24-hour basis for signs of labour. However recent ultrasound scans showed that the foetus ceased to develop and that the heartbeat of the foetus is no longer present, confirming that the foetus is no longer viable.

Dr. Lee Foo Khong, Veterinarian at Ocean Park, said, “The ultrasound examinations performed on the 6 and 7 October clearly showed the foetus that we had been monitoring, had stopped developing and the foetal structures were no longer distinct, thus confirming it is no longer viable.”

Dr. Wang Chengdong, Director of Veterinary Service of the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda in Wolong, said, “Ocean Park’s veterinary and animal caretaker team have consistently provided the best possible care for Ying Ying. Cases of foetal reabsorption, pseudo-pregnancies, miscarriages, stillbirths and death after birth, are not uncommon for giant pandas, especially for first-time mothers due to their inexperience.”

While it is not possible to ascertain the cause of ‘in-utero’ deaths in giant pandas, Ocean Park, along with the Wolong specialists will closely review the data gathered during Ying Ying's pregnancy in an effort to learn more about this phenomenon. The teams will continue to focus their attention to caring for Ying Ying to ensure that she remains healthy should further complications arise. At present, her pre-natal behaviors have persisted and remained largely the same as last week’s, with reduced food intake from 10 kg to 1 kg, increased resting time from 14 hours to 22 hours, and a heightened sensitivity to sounds and her surroundings.

Ms. Suzanne Gendron, Executive Director of Zoological Operations and Education, said, “The whole Park is extremely saddened by the news, especially our team of animal caretakers and veterinarians who have wholeheartedly watched over Ying Ying and accompanied her during her journey over the past few months. While we mourn her loss of this foetus, we remain hopeful for more opportunities and fruitful outcomes in the years to come.”

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