The Smithsonian’s National Zoo has shared the first images of the new baby panda!
Welcome to the world little one! A couple of weeks ago the National Zoo revealed its 22-year-old giant panda, Mei Xiang was expecting a new cub. Well now it has finally made its internet debut on the zoo’s panda cam and he’s totally adorable!
On Thursday, August 27, the National Zoo shared the first images of Mei Xiang’s newborn cub after she stepped out of the den for the first time after giving birth last week. Zookeepers recorded a close up of the little, furless cub, who although tiny-weeny has some really powerful lungs. No, really, those wearing headphones watch this video with volume on at your own peril.
The Smithsonian explained Mei Xiang was seen approaching the door of her den several times in an attempt to test her cub’s reaction to being placed on the floor. On Thursday morning, the giant panda left her den and her cub twice–once at 4:27 a.m. and once at 5:59 a.m–to get a drink of water for the first time in six days. The little one, who squealed at the top of its lungs, was clearly not having it, but he got a big bear hug once mom returned to their den and immediately picked it up and cradled it. Awww!
Although Mei Xiang has only taken a total of two minutes (motherhood is hard) for her self since the birth of her cub, Smithsonian officials said this shows good signs that momma bear and her cub are doing well.
“Newborn giant pandas rely on their mothers for warmth, since they have little fur and cannot regulate their own body temperature. During the first few days of a cub’s life, a mother panda forgoes eating and drinking to stay with her offspring. Now that Mei Xiang has started leaving her den to drink, this is a positive sign that the cub can stay warm on its own for short periods,” says the Smithsonian’s note.
In the coming days, as Mei Xiang becomes more comfortable with leaving her cub alone for longer periods of time, the Panda Team is expected to swoop into the den and conduct some quick exams on the cub that could identify the sex.
In the meantime, keep up with Mei Xiang, her talkative little cub and other members of the National’s Zoo panda community on the zoo’s Giant Panda Cam!
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