The Smithsonian National Zoo Welcomes a Baby Panda At Last!
At around 10:46 p.m. Sunday, a baby panda was born at the National Zoo, according to Zoo officials. After five consecutive false pregnancies since 2007, Mei Xiang’s chances of giving birth to a cub were as low as 10 percent. But in April, zookeepers did not give up. Instead they artificially inseminated the female panda and waited and watched as Mei showed signs of pregnancy, building a nest in her den.
Chief veterinarian Suzan Murray has the latest news on the cub’s behavior on the Zoo’s website:
“Mei Xiang is behaving exactly the same way she did when Tai Shan was born. She is cradling her cub closely , and she looks so tired, but every time she tries to lay down, the cub squawks and she sits right up and cradles the cub more closely. She is the poster child for a perfect panda mom.”
Over the next few weeks, animal handlers will allow the mother and baby cub time to bond and will only monitor the cub’s progress via panda cam.
Photo: Courtesy of the National Zoo. The image shows Mei Xiang, the mother of the cub. You can catch a glimpse of Mei and her new cub on one of the Zoo’s panda cams.
Ed note: Why pandas are so hard to breed and more at Smithsonian.com.