Hong Kong panda Ying Ying suffers miscarriage; cub was to be 1st ever born in the city

This handout photograph taken and released by Ocean Park on Oct 7, 2015 giant panda Ying Ying resting in a back-of-house area at Ocean Park in Hong Kong. Hong Kong panda Ying Ying has lost the long-awaited cub she was expecting, vets said on Oct 7. I
This handout photograph taken and released by Ocean Park on Oct 7, 2015 giant panda Ying Ying resting in a back-of-house area at Ocean Park in Hong Kong. Hong Kong panda Ying Ying has lost the long-awaited cub she was expecting, vets said on Oct 7. It would have been the first-ever giant panda born in the city after 10 years of trying.PHOTO: AFP
This handout photograph taken on Sept 22, 2015 and released by Ocean Park on Oct 1, 2015 shows Ying Ying the panda getting an ultrasound check during her pregnancy at Ocean Park in Hong Kong. Ying Ying has had a miscarriage, the park said on Oct 7, r
This handout photograph taken on Sept 22, 2015 and released by Ocean Park on Oct 1, 2015 shows Ying Ying the panda getting an ultrasound check during her pregnancy at Ocean Park in Hong Kong. Ying Ying has had a miscarriage, the park said on Oct 7, reported the SCMP.PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (AFP) - Hong Kong panda Ying Ying has lost the long-awaited cub she was expecting, vets said on Wednesday (Oct 7). It would have been the first-ever giant panda born in the city.

After years of trying, 10-year-old Ying Ying began to show signs of pregnancy in July and was due to give birth this week.

The pregnancy came after several attempts, both natural and artificial, at insemination.

But animal carers at Hong Kong's Ocean Park, where Ying Ying lives, announced on Wednesday that she had miscarried the cub.

"Unfortunately we have sad news to share," Ocean Park vet Lee Foo Khong told reporters.

"Based on recent scans, the pregnancy is no longer viable."

Dr Lee said that scans taken on Wednesday morning showed the foetus had stopped developing.

"The structure was no longer distinct... it was breaking down," he said.

He added they had not determined the reason for the failed pregnancy.

Panda pregnancies are fragile and vets had already warned when the imminent birth was announced last week that it was possible Ying Ying could reabsorb or miscarry the foetus.

A team of specialists had been assigned to keep an eye on her around the clock and park managers had sought to protect her from noise and disturbance.

Female pandas are only interested in mating for three days a year, and have a gestation period of three to five months.