A Chinese panda expert is helping the National Zoo perform artificial inseminations of the zoo's female panda, Mei Xiang.
The zoo announced Tuesday that pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian attempted to mate on Saturday. When they weren't successful, scientists performed two artificial inseminations.
Dr. Tang Chunxiang of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda worked with the pandas for several days to encourage natural breeding. But they never successfully mated, so artificial inseminations were performed Saturday and Sunday.
The zoo says its techniques are very similar to Tang's approach.
Pandas have a very brief mating season each year, so the timing is critical. The Washington pair has produced only one cub in 2005.