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Giant panda Update Aug 6, 2013

As we continue to watch Mei Xiang in hopes of a new addition to the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat, we have noticed some behavioral changes in our female giant panda. In the past few days Mei has become much less interested in interacting with her keepers, and she continues to be very sensitive to noise. She chooses to spend most of her time inside sleeping, and has rarely gone outside in the past few days. These behaviors are normal and even expected as we come to the end of a pregnancy or pseudopregancny.

We are noticing other behaviors that Mei exhibits typical behaviors too. She briefly cradled one of her toys. She is less interested in food, and as a result her bamboo intake has significantly decreased. Mei usually finds the produce and biscuits that keepers give her as a delicious snack, but now she is choosing not to finish them.

What Mei is interested in, however, is her nest. Mei has been building her nest since early July and it continues to grow. This year we are controlling the size of her nest by offering her small stalks of bamboo. By giving her smaller pieces the veterinarians and keepers will have a better view of her nest, making it even easier to monitor her behavior — and the behavior of a potential cub. You can watch Mei make progress on her nest via the panda cams, sponsored by the Ford Motor Company Fund.