Mei Xiang Gives Birth at Zoo

August 26, 2013

The National Zoo’s giant female panda Mei Xiang has given birth to her cub. “Mei Xiang picked the cub up immediately and began cradling and caring for it,” the National Zoo said in a release.

The female panda was artificially inseminated twice in March with samples from two different pandas. She last gave birth to a cub in September 2012. That cub died less than a week after its birth. Her first cub, Tai Shan born in 2005, now lives in China.

Mei Xiang, 15, began showing signs of pregnancy in July.

“I’m glued to the new panda cams and thrilled to hear the squeals, which appear healthy, of our newborn cub,” Dennis Kelly, director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, said in a release. “Our expansive panda team has worked tirelessly analyzing hormones and behavior since March, and as a result of their expertise and our collaboration with scientists from around the world we are celebrating this birth.”

According to the Zoo, Mei Xiang will spend the next two weeks in her den with her new cub. The Giant Panda Habitat will remain closed, but possible cub daddy Tian Tian will still be on display.

The sex of the cub, who won’t be named for 100 days, will be known within two to three weeks.

At a press conference, a National Zoo official said Mei Xiang may give birth to a twin in the next several hours. He added that the Zoo won’t relax for two to three months.

SOURCE: dcist

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