published Friday, December 13th, 2013

3 young pandas at Atlanta zoo are females, not males

ATLANTA — Genetic testing has revealed that three young giant pandas born at Atlanta's zoo that were thought to be males are actually females.

Zoo Atlanta spokeswoman Keisha Hines says an examination that was part of the preparation to send Po to China revealed the 3-year-old panda is female.

Hines said the zoo then decided to do DNA testing on Po and on twin cubs Mei Lun (may loon) and Mei Huan (may hwaan). That revealed those cubs were also females, rather than males.

This isn't the first case of mistaken gender for a panda born at Zoo Atlanta. Researchers in China determined in September 2011 that Atlanta-born Mei Lan (may lahn) who had been thought to be female was actually male.

Hines says gender is difficult to determine in young pandas.

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