Bites at Animal Planet

23 Aug

National Zoo's panda cub is a girl! (Watch Video)

The Great Panda Paternity Mystery is solved. (Photo Credit: Smithsonian's National Zoo)

UPDATE at 11AM on September 5: The most popular cub in America is a GIRL! The Smithsonian's National Zoo announced Mei Xiang's newest cub is a female and that her father is none other than Tian Tian, the zoo's resident male panda.

Due to Tian Tian's ineffective "natural technique," Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated with sperm from Tian Tian and Gao Gao, a male panda from San Diego Zoo, according to the Washington Post. Mei Xiang had fraternal twins last month, one of which was stillborn. The stillborn was also a girl.

Check out new video of mother and daughter cuddling. Aww!


New panda
Mei Xiang's new cub is already smiling. (Photo Credit: Smithsonian's National Zoo/AFP, Courtney Janney)

UPDATE at 1:35 PM ET, Monday, August 26: Panda-monium is still going strong in Washington and we’re happy to report the newest addition to the Smithsonian National Zoo is in great health.

Giant panda Mei Xiang gave birth to her unnamed cub at around 5:32 PM ET Friday. On Sunday, the zoo’s panda team took the little one away for an examination where they determined the cub was in solid physical health—it had a full stomach, steady heartbeat and functioning lungs. It's gender should be determined in a few weeks.

“All signs are that we have a very healthy, active, vibrant cub,” according to the National Zoo’s website.

Just over 24 hours after giving birth to her first cub, Mei Xiang delivered her second at around 7:30 PM ET. It was stillborn, unfortunately. 

It's Panda-monium in Washington! 

Mei Xiang, the National Zoo’s female panda, gave birth around 5:32 p.m. on Friday. The zoo tweeted her water broke shortly before 4:14 PM ET, triggering a mad dash to watch the panda LIVE on the National Zoo’s Panda Cam. The labor lasted about two hours. Watch video of the event below, where you can hear the baby vocalize and see Mei Xiang cradle and care for the cub:

LIVE CAMS: Watch Brown Bears in the wild and 19 other animal cams now.

We’ll be watching closely ourselves, as the baby goes through its first days. Be sure to check back with the Bites blog as news develops. Until then, follow the 2005 birth and early life of Tai Shan, Mei Xiang's first cub, who now lives in China.

More details on Mei Xiang and Friday's birth at the National Zoo site.

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