Panda gives birth: National Zoo Giant Panda

Published: August 24, 2015

Panda gives birth: National Zoo Giant Panda, Two newborn twins are born to a giant panda at Washington’s National Zoo, but it’s triple the squeaks in a Mexican zoo with the debut of three new bobcat kittens. Jillian Kitchener reports.

A giant panda at the US National Zoo in Washington has given birth to a cub, launching a fresh chapter in the public romance with rotund black and white bears.

Pamela Baker-Masson, the zoo spokeswoman, said the staff was “thrilled, absolutely thrilled”.

“I’ve been in close communication with veterinarians, the scientists, keepers. Everybody’s extremely happy,” she said. “We were all tuned in to the panda-cam, and we saw her water break. And then just about an hour later … she gave birth to a cub.”

The National Zoo’s Mei Xiang is shown in this panda-cam image after giving birth to her latest cub.

The loud vocalisations from the cub after birth were a “great sign for good health”, noted Baker-Masson, who said staff watched with awe as the mother panda picked up her new cub, about the size of a stick of butter.

Inside the panda house on Saturday afternoon (Sunday, NZ time), a small, rapt knot of onlookers watched on a video monitor as Mei Xiang tossed and turned inside her cage. Then about 4.30pm, zoo officials confirmed that the panda’s water had broken.

#ICYMI: Hear the first cries of giant #panda Mei Xiang’s brand new cub at the @NationalZoo

— ABC News (@abcnews) August 23, 2015
Susan Powell, 51, had been standing with her son and granddaughter as Mei Xiang laboured on the black-and-white screen. Powell, who was visiting her son from her home outside of Magnolia, Arkansas, said the event was a rare treat.

“In south Arkansas, we don’t have anything like this,” she said. “We get deer and foxes, but not pandas.”

Powell’s granddaughter, Jorja, 7, sat on a wooden block nearby with her father. “I think it’s really cool,” the girl said. Her nickname when she was younger, she said, was “Panda” – because she is half-white and half-Asian, she joked.

Suddenly about 5.33, someone said, “I think it’s coming”.


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