National Zoo celebrates birth of giant panda in Washington, DC
Mei Ziang, photo via Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

The National Zoo announced on Friday that a giant panda had been born in Washington, D.C.


"Giant panda Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) gave birth to a cub at Smithsonian’s National Zoo today, Aug. 21. Animal care staff witnessed the birth at 6:35 p.m. Mei Xiang picked the cub up immediately and began cradling and caring for it. The panda team heard the cub vocalize and glimpsed the cub for the first time briefly immediately after the birth. They are monitoring Mei Xiang and her cub via the Zoo’s panda cams," the zoo announced.

The sex of the cub has not yet been determined.

“Giant pandas are an international symbol of endangered wildlife and hope, and with the birth of this precious cub we are thrilled to offer the world a much-needed moment of pure joy,” said Steve Monfort, John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. “Because Mei Xiang is of advanced maternal age, we knew the chances of her having a cub were slim. However, we wanted to give her one more opportunity to contribute to her species’ survival. I am incredibly proud of our animal care and science teams, whose expertise in giant panda behavior was critical to this conservation success.”