Former Atlanta panda is male, not female

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Friday, Sept. 23, 2011

ATLANTA (AP) — Turns out a panda born at Atlanta's zoo and returned to China for breeding will end up being a dad and not a mom as originally thought.

Rebecca Snyder, curator of mammals at Zoo Atlanta, said zoo staff and a researcher from the panda research center in China where Mei Lan now lives examined the panda 19 days after its birth and determined the panda was female. But she said researchers in China recently noticed male reproductive organs and determined Mei Lan is male.

Snyder says giant pandas are among the most difficult mammals when it comes to determining gender and mistakes are not uncommon. A male panda's testes descend after he's 3 years old, which happened after Mei Lan was sent to China in February 2010.

(Copyright 2011, The Associated Press)

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