Quantcast
Latest Stories

US National Zoo panda gives birth to her 3rd cub


In this image from video provided by the Smithsonian National Zoo, Mei Xiang gives birth to a cub two hours after her water broke Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, at the National Zoo in Washington. The zoo has been on round-the-clock panda watch since Aug. 7, when Mei Xiang began showing behavioral changes consistent with a pregnancy or pseudopregnancy. AP

A giant panda gave birth at Washington’s National Zoo on Friday, causing a buzz among fans as they flocked to a panda cam’s live feed to hear the cub squeal and watch the mother immediately start caring for it.

The zoo said Mei Xiang gave birth at 5:32 p.m. Friday, two hours after her water broke. Zoo officials said the panda team heard the cub vocalize and that the mother picked it up immediately and began cradling and caring for it.

“WE HAVE A CUB!! Born at 5:32 p.m. this evening,” the zoo tweeted.

“I’m glued to the new panda cams and thrilled to hear the squeals, which appear healthy, of our newborn cub,” said Dennis Kelly, director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

Fans of the 15-year-old panda who had been tracking her suspected pregnancy on a Giant Panda Cam flocked to the live feed.

With the zoo heralding the cub’s birth on Twitter, the pandas’ excited fans responded in kind. Congratulations poured in under the hashtag “cubwatch,” including hopes that this year’s cub would survive. “Last year was so heartbreaking,” as one person tweeted, while another said, “Good luck, little Butterstick 2 !!!”

Mei Xiang had previously given birth to two cubs. Tai Shan was born in 2005 and a week-old cub died last September.

Panda cubs are especially delicate and vulnerable to infection and other illness. They are about the size of a stick of butter at birth. The first weeks of life are critical for the cubs as mothers have to make sure they stay warm and get enough to eat.

Zookeepers said at a news conference on Friday night that giant pandas give birth to twins 50 percent of the time, so they will continue to keep an eye on Mei Xiang for 24 hours.

Brandie Smith, curator of mammals at the zoo, said Friday night that mindful of last year’s loss, zookeepers will be more hands-on with this cub.

“We know that Mei Xiang is an excellent mother,” Smith said. “When she has a cub, she will take care of it.”

Smith said that will zookeepers don’t want to disturb the bonding between the mother and cub, but they will take the risk and do an assessment of the cub within the first 48 hours.

The biggest concern is the cub’s weight, Smith said, and that it continues to gain weight. Zookeepers will also be listening for healthy squeals from the cub, and signs and sounds that it is nursing.

The panda team will perform health checks every few days. Its gender was not immediately known.

Mei Xiang is expected to spend almost all of her time in her den for the next two weeks with her new cub.

The zoo has been on round-the-clock panda watch since Aug. 7, when Mei Xiang began showing behavioral changes consistent with a pregnancy or pseudo-pregnancy.

A Chinese panda expert performed artificial inseminations on Mei Xiang on March 30 after she failed to breed naturally with male panda Tian Tian.

Zookeepers had not been certain that Mei Xiang was pregnant, because she refused to cooperate with attempts to perform an ultrasound.

The David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat, which has been closed to the public since Aug. 2, will remain closed to provide quiet time for Mei Xiang and her cub.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Panda




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. US teacher fired over comment on black president
  2. Filipinos, Dane re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  3. Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  4. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  5. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  6. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  7. Massive infra spending set
  8. Easter crucifixions draw huge crowds
  9. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  10. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  9. Massive infra spending set
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  5. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  6. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  7. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • Korea ferry captain defends actions, bodies seen in ship
  • Traffic starts to build up at toll plazas on Black Saturday
  • Flash floods hit 9 Tagum villages
  • No tsunami to hit PH after 6.9 quake jolts Solomon Islands–Phivolcs
  • Search resumes for bodies in Everest avalanche
  • Sports

  • Hamilton takes pole at Chinese Grand Prix
  • Duke’s Rodney Hood joining Jabari Parker in NBA draft
  • Phelps entered in 3 events at comeback meet
  • Boston prepares for huge wave of marathon visitors
  • Motivated LeBron James preps for postseason
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • Fiat-Chrysler to produce iconic Jeep in China from 2015
  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • We treasure our Sierra Madre
  • OFW from UAE tests negative for MERS-Cov–health chief
  • Multicultural flock marks Good Friday in San Francisco
  • Las Vegas ‘Pinoy Pride’ fest hails Filipino heritage
  • Marking Jesus’ journey on Good Friday
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement