Washington zoo's panda cub healthy, putting on weight

Fri Sep 4, 2015 3:40pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article
[-] Text [+]

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The National Zoo's new giant panda cub is healthy and putting on weight fast, the zoo said on Friday, with a video showing early signs of signature markings.

The cub is one of two giant pandas born on Aug. 22 to Mei Xiang, a top tourist draw in the U.S. capital. The smaller of the cubs died last week of pneumonia and the zoo said a Wednesday examination showed the surviving panda was doing well.

"Our vets were able to do a giant panda cub checkup Wed. He's healthy & weighs 287.5 grams" (10 ounces), the zoo said on Twitter.

The cub's weight had gone up 83 percent since it was weighed last Friday.

A 15-second video showed a gloved zoo worker handling the largely pink cub. He had some light-colored fur and faint characteristic dark markings around the eyes, front shoulders and legs.

The cubs were sired by Tian Tian, the zoo's male giant panda, using artificial insemination. Their birth captured international attention since giant pandas are among the world's most endangered species.

The new cub will be kept out of public view until January and no name has been chosen yet, officials have said. Mei Xiang previously has given birth to two surviving cubs.

Giant pandas, which are native to China, have a very low reproductive rate, especially in captivity. There are about 300 giant pandas in captivity and some 1,600 in the wild.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Sandra Maler)

One of the giant panda cubs born on at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, DC is being examines by veterinarians in this image taken on August 22, 2015. REUTERS/Smithsonian's National Zoo/Handout