News & Politics

And Now for the Latest Panda Cub Update

She’s four weeks old and doing well.

Photograph courtesy of the National Zoo.

If ever there was a week in which Washington needed some Friday feel-good, it’s this
week. Here’s a healthy dose: The National Zoo’s baby panda is four weeks old, and
keepers say she’s growing so well “she is nearly as round as she is long!” The cub
was born Friday, August 23.

Mom is doing well, too. Mei Xiang’s appetite was down before and for a while after
the birth, but no longer. “There are no bamboo leaves that are safe,” said one of
the zookeepers. She’s also exhibiting behaviors not uncommon for a new mother—finding
some time to herself. “Mei left the cub for about 20 minutes this morning to eat,”
the zoo said in a statement. “Since Monday she has started leaving the cub more frequently
and for longer periods of time.”

The baby panda, still unnamed, is beginning to roll over, at least partially. Right
now when she rolls over, Mei has to help her get righted. But that won’t last much
longer. The zoo said she’ll “become more mobile soon.” The cub’s eyes are still closed
but could open in the next few weeks. Earlier this week she received her first veterinary
exam and was given “a clean bill of health.” If possible, zookeepers say, another
exam will happen next week.

The report didn’t forget about dad Tian Tian, either: “Since the summer temperatures
have faded he has been staying outside” in the panda habitat most afternoons, the
zoo stated.