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Pandas get a another chance to mate

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Tian Tian the female panda ovulates just once a year, with a narrow window of just 36 hours in which she can get pregnant

Tian Tian the female panda ovulates just once a year, with a narrow window of just 36 hours in which she can get pregnant

Tian Tian the female panda ovulates just once a year, with a narrow window of just 36 hours in which she can get pregnant

Zookeepers will be hoping love is in the air as the UK's only pandas come face-to-face for a second time as part of a programme to encourage them to mate.

Keepers at Edinburgh Zoo opened a "love tunnel" between male Yang Guang and female Tian Tian's enclosures on Tuesday as they hoped to speed up the mating process.

The pair have a window of just 36 hours in which to mate, after tests showed she had ovulated.

The bears were introduced on Tuesday and, despite being brought together five times throughout the day, failed to mate. There were "encouraging" signs however, the zoo said.

Male panda Yang Guang mounted Tian Tian as the pair wrestled.

Tian Tian "called out incessantly to Yang Guang" and pressed her paws and nose up to the grate separating them.

Edinburgh Zoo has turned off the "pandacam" which allows people to watch the animals online, but the fevered speculation appears to have taken its toll.

An spokeswoman said the pair had met five times for five minute spells, leading to "very positive" signs.

The pandas will meet again on Wednesday morning.

Giant pandas Tian Tian (meaning Sweetie) and Yang Guang (Sunshine) arrived in Scotland from Ya'an reserve in Chengdu, China, on December 4 last year. They went on show to visitors for the first time on December 16.

PA Media