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 of both natural and artificial insemination.
But animal caretakers 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 fetus 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 fetus.
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.