Over the weekend, giant panda Mei Xiang continued to take excellent care of her newborn cub. Although we have not yet had an opportunity to conduct an exam on the cub, we can tell from our observations via the Panda Cam that it is growing nicely. We expect that Mei Xiang will leave the den for longer periods to eat in the coming days. When she does, the panda team will perform a quick check of the cub’s body parts and weigh it. Male and female giant panda cubs look very similar at birth, so genetic testing is the most precise method for determining the cub’s sex. When time permits, we will take a cheek swab for DNA analysis.
In the cub’s first few days, Mei Xiang kept it mostly hidden, tucked beneath her armpit or between her forearms. While she still holds it close to keep it warm, we are now starting to see parts of the cub poke out from its mother's arms. This photo of the cub’s paws shows the remarkable size difference between the pair. As Mei Xiang adjusts and changes positions, it is not unusual to see the cub twist and turn, too.
This story appears in the Aug. 31 issue of the Giant Panda Bulletin.