National Zoo officials today gave up their round-the-clock watch on Ling-Ling the giant panda, convinced she will not give birth this year but ever hopeful that 1986 will bring an offspring.
Zoo spokesman Mike Morgan said the panda watch, which began on Oct. 31, ended at 7 a.m. today. “She’s sitting in the bamboo nest she built and cuddling apples, but it’s well beyond the usual gestation period. I don’t think anyone around here expects a birth this time,” Morgan said. Ling-Ling, a gift from China, is about 15 or 16 years old.