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A Cub is Born!

  • Still from Pandacam of Mei Xiang giving birth

Giant panda Mei Xiang gave birth to a cub at 5:35 pm! Mei Xiang reacted to the cub by picking it up. The panda team began preparing for a birth when they saw Mei Xiang's water break at 4:32 pm and she was already having contractions. The sex of the cub won't be determined until a later date. Watch a video of the birth. 

The Zoo's panda team is monitoring Mei Xiang and the cub via the Zoo's panda cams. The panda team will perform a neonatal exam on the cub when they are able to retrieve it. That may take a few days.

Veterinarians first detected evidence of a fetus on an ultrasound Aug. 19. It was the first time they had ever seen a fetus on an ultrasound, as Mei Xiang usually chooses not to participate in ultrasounds in the final weeks of her pregnancies and pseudopregnancies. At the time, the fetus was about 4 centimeters in length.

The panda team expects Mei Xiang to spend almost all of her time in her den for the next two weeks with her newborn cub. The David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat has been closed to the public since Aug. 20, and will remain closed until further notice to provide quiet for Mei and her cub. Both will continue to be visible on the panda cams. Visitors can also see Tian Tian and two-year-old Bao Bao, in their outdoor habitat and on the panda cam. 

Due to a high volume of viewers, you may experience trouble playing the panda cams. Please try to refresh the page to reestablish your connection; or if you'd like to watch the cam uninterrupted, we suggest downloading the Smithsonian's National Zoo App.

Don't forget to follow @smithsonianzoo on Instagram for behind-the-scenes photos and videos with the hashtags #PandaStory and #InstaScience.