Tokyo's Ueno Zoo prepares for the possibilty of the birth of a panda cub. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) A female panda at Tokyo's Ueno zoo appears to be pregnant, zoo officials said on Friday (May 19), raising hopes for a safe birth. Ueno Zoo's 11-year-old panda Shin Shin has shown signs of being pregnant Shin Shin, might be experiencing pseudo-pregnancy, the deputy head of the zoo Hirofumi Watabe told reporters. They aren't actually pregnant but exhibit the same behaviors as pregnant pandas - such as decreased appetite, sluggishness and even similar changes in hormones. Scientists say it's almost impossible to distinguish between the two, because recently implanted fetuses are often too tiny to be spotted on an ultrasound. Shin Shin and her partner Ri Ri arrived from China in February 2011 and went on view to the public soon after a devastating earthquake and tsunami the next month, providing Japan with some welcome news. The cub born the next year was the first panda born at Ueno Zoo in 24 years. But the tiny cub was found motionless and without a heartbeat on his mother's belly and although moved to an incubator, efforts to revive the baby panda failed. If Shin Shin is really pregnant, she is likely to give birth in early June or a bit later, a zoo official said.