Breaking news - We are brokenhearted to share that we have lost our little giant panda cub. Panda keepers and volunteers heard Mei Xiang make a distress vocalization at 9:17 a.m. and let the veterinarian staff know immediately. They turned off the panda cam and were able to safely retrieve the cub for an evaluation at 10:22 a.m., which we only do in situations of gravest concern. The veterinarians immediately performed CPR and other life-saving measures, but sadly the cub was unresponsive. We’ll have more updates as we learn more, but right now we know is that the cub weighed just under 100 grams and that there was no outward sign of trauma or infection. We’ll share information with you as we learn more.
FROM SATURDAY – Smithsonian’s National Zoo staff and Panda Cam watchers have gotten several quick glimpses of female giant panda Mei Xiang’s cub. In this video, Sept. 17. at about 8:35 p.m. EST, Mei Xiang cradles the newborn and gently picks it up in her mouth as she shifts position. This is normal behavior and another sign that Mei Xiang is being an excellent mother to her new cub. By using her mouth, Mei Xiang can very gently and dexterously position her cub on her body so that she is able to nurse and groom it.
The cub actively squirms and vocalizes loudly in response—two good signs that the cub is healthy! Keepers report that Mei Xiang is exhibiting excellent maternal behaviors. She is prompt to cradle and groom the cub, and there is evidence that it is successfully nursing. The Zoo will continue to diligently monitor both bears over the Panda Cam and minimize disturbances around their den.