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Eye On the Panda Staff

By Ed O'Keefe

So far The Eye has profiled government meteorologists, Customs and Border Protection officers, the National Mall's grounds crew and one of the government's most skilled printers.

Today we meet some of the National Zoo staffers who have spent the last five months tracking Panda mom Mei Xiang's possible pregnancy. Zoo officials announced yesterday that she had experienced a false pregnancy for the third year in a row, a disappointment for the thousands of devout panda followers in Washington and around the world.

This year's pseudo pregnancy involved dozens of veterinarians, zoo keepers, animal reproductive experts and volunteers based at the National Zoo in Northwest Washington and at the Conservation and Research Center in Front Royal, Va. As you'll see in the video above, zoo staff regularly collected Mei Xiang's urine and analyzed it at the Front Royal labs. Back at the zoo, keepers and veterinarians conducted regular ultrasounds and kept tabs on her behavior before determining there was no panda cub in the womb. Staffers and volunteers also discussed the pregnancy status and explained why it's so difficult to determine a panda pregnancy.

Special thanks to Zoo spokeswoman Sarah Taylor, primates and pandas curator Lisa Stevens, lead veterinarian Suzan Murray and Janine Brown and her staff in the Reproductive and Endocronology Laboratory in Front Royal.

Have any suggestions on who we should profile next? Leave them in the comments section below or e-mail federaleye@washingtonpost.com.

By Ed O'Keefe  | May 21, 2009; 5:04 AM ET
Categories:  Eye On..., Video Report  
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Comments

Thank you so much for this Eye on the Panda Staff. I've been watching the Panda cam faithfully for years (it's such a stress reliever) and have had the opportunity to visit the pandas in person. Of course I'm a little disappointed that there is no pregnancy this year, but I am very impressed with the quality of care the pandas receive from their staff. Please keep up the good work!

Posted by: Dutchie1 | May 21, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

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