Nation & World News

It’s A Girl! New Panda Is Doing Fine, National Zoo Says

By Mark Memmott on September 5th, 2013

The giant panda cub born at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 23 is a girl, officials announced Thursday morning.

What’s more, she “has a fat little belly” and seems to be doing just fine, zoo curator Brandie Smith says.

WAMU adds that “officials at the zoo also announced that a DNA swab of the baby panda had determined that its father is Tian Tian, the National Zoo’s resident male panda. Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated in March with sperm from both Tian Tian and Gao Gao [from the San Diego Zoo]. This is Tian Tian’s third cub: he sired Tai Shan, born in 2005, and a panda cub that died last year a week after its birth.”

As for what the new cub will be called, the zoo reminds everyone that “giant panda cubs are traditionally named when they are 100 days old.” If our calculations are correct, that day arrives on Nov. 30 — the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Back in 2005, the zoo got help from the public when it named Tai Shan (who was known as “Butterstick” for the first 100 days of his life). We expect another such contest this time around.

The zoo’s popular “panda cams” are here.

Related: How the zoo determines a panda cub’s gender.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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