The National Zoo’s giant panda cub gets first full exam in DC

Mei Xiang and Tian Tian's cub has had her first full health examination. The three week old cub received a clean bill of health. Photo: By approval of Smithsonian National Zoo

WASHINGTON, September 17, 2013 — According to a statement released by the Smithsonian National Zoo, the female panda cub who was born August 23, 2013 received her first complete veterinary exam yesterday, September 16, and is in perfect health.

Mei Xiang finally put the cub down and left the enclosure to eat some bamboo and drink some water in another area after three and a half weeks of almost constant cradling of the cub.

The panda team had been waiting for this opportunity and as soon as it presented itself, the team swooped in and retrieved the panda cub. Mei Xiang left her enclosure at 4:11 p.m. and the examination was completed at 4:31 p.m.

Since the initial, assessment of the cub at two days old, she has more than doubled her weight reaching just under 2 lbs., up from the preliminary assessment weight of 4.8 ounces. She measures 10.6 inches long and 9.8 inches around at the belly.

The cub now has the classic black and white markings of a giant panda, but she has yet to open her eyes.

After the exam, the cub was returned to the enclosure. When the cub’s mother Mei Xiang returned she immediately picked the cub up and started to groom her.

The David M. Rubenstein’s Family Giant Panda Habitat has been closed off to the public since the beginning of August and will remain closed for the foreseeable future to give mother and baby panda peace and quiet.

Visitors to the zoo can still see the father of the new cub, Tian Tian in his outdoor habitat and can view Mei Xiang and the cub on the panda cams at the National Zoo’s official website.



This article was written with assistance from information received in a press release by the Smithsonian National Zoo.


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Susan L Ruth

Susan L. Ruth is a long-time Washington, DC resident with extensive ties throughout the community.  She is a genealogical researcher and writer, and is an active volunteer in the Northern Virginia competitive swimming community.  Susan previously worked providing life-skills to head injured adults. 

Susan and her husband Kerry currently live in Northern Virginia with their three sons, Ryley, Casey and Jack and their American Bulldog, Leila.


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