For Release: July 26, 2005
Peper Long (202) 633-3082
John Gibbons (202) 633-3083
Giant Panda Cub Update
Yesterday, the National Zoo’s female giant panda, Mei Xiang (may-SHONG), ate for the very first time since before giving birth to a cub two and a half weeks ago. She left her cub in the den to drink and ate some bamboo for approximately three minutes before returning to her cub, which was born Sat., July 9, at 3:41 a.m. Studies of wild giant pandas have shown mother pandas going as long as a month without eating or drinking.
Keepers and curators at the Fujifilm Giant Panda Habitat are laying the groundwork for the first veterinary exam by acclimating Mei Xiang to the sounds of daily activity, including opening and closing doors, cleaning areas and talking softly around her den.
The cub is growing and developing the familiar black and white markings of a giant panda, and it continues to be active and vocal—all indications of continued health.
Zoo staff will not be able to determine the cub’s gender until veterinary and animal care staff have an opportunity to conduct a brief medical exam, which could happen in the next several days. Volunteers and staff will continue to monitor mother and cub 24 hours a day for the next month or so through cameras mounted in the pandas’ den.
The outdoor portion of the Zoo’s Fujifilm Giant Panda Habitat is open to the public. Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN), the Zoo’s male giant panda, has access to the outdoor exhibit. The indoor exhibit will remain closed to the public.
The live web cams for the giant pandas can be seen on the National Zoo’s website.