Giant pandas are black and white bears that live in temperate-zone bamboo forests in central China. Among the best recognized—but rarest—animals in the world, they have come to symbolize endangered species and conservation efforts. There are as few as 1,864 giant pandas in the wild. More than 300 pandas live in zoos and breeding centers around the world; most of these pandas are in China.
Giant pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian are at the National Zoo under a Giant Panda Cooperative Research and Breeding Agreement, signed in January 2011, between the Zoo and the China Wildlife Conservation Association. This extends the Zoo’s giant panda program through 2015. Mei and Tian are the focus of an ambitious research, conservation, and breeding program designed to preserve this endangered species.
PANDA HOUSE CLOSED: Mei Xiang has given birth! The Panda House will remain closed while our team and Mei Xiang care for the newborn. As always, you can watch on the panda cams, and visitors will be able to see Tian Tian and Bao Bao outside.
On high visitation days, Asia Trail will be open to one-way traffic only. Visitors will enter Asia Trail at the sloth bear exhibit, near the Connecticut Avenue pedestrian entrance. Those visiting Bao Bao will be asked to line up outside the giant panda house in front of the panda yards. For the safety of our guests, animals, and staff, visitors will be allowed into the panda house in small groups to avoid overcrowding.
Visitors will enter the panda house from the west entrance, by the red panda exhibit, and exit the east entrance. After leaving the panda house, visitors will exit Asia Trail near Panda Plaza.
Our panda cub has been visible on the panda cams several times since yesterday. Keepers left some sugarcane for Mei Xiang in her den yesterday afternoon, and around 1 p.m. she decided to eat some! That is the first time she has eaten since giving birth. She put her cub down for a few minutes while eating, giving panda cam viewers an excellent view of him. He is starting to get black markings around his eyes, ears and back. He also picked up his head and grunted (which is a happy noise) while Mei ate. Mei put him down again early this morning for a few seconds while she sat up. The cub is nursing well and the panda team is very happy with his progress.Read previous panda updates.