Is There a New Baby Panda Due at the National Zoo?
by Courtney Sexton/Smithsonianmag.com
A signal of hope emitted from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo this morning as caretakers discovered that resident giant panda Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) may be pregnant. An ultrasound revealed tissues that indicate a baby panda could be growing, though it is too early to tell for certain whether mother Mei Xiang will come to term. Veterinarians first detected fetal tissue last week, and have have seen other encouraging signs, including developing skeletal structures and strong blood flow within Mei Xiang’s uterus.
“In the middle of a pandemic, this is a joyful moment we can all get excited about,” says Don Neiffer, chief veterinarian at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, who conducted the ultrasound. “We are optimistic that very shortly she may give birth to a healthy cub or cubs. We’re fortunate that Mei Xiang participated in the ultrasound allowing us to get sharp images and video. We’re watching her closely and welcome everyone to watch with us on the panda cams.”
Twenty-two-year-old Mei Xiang first arrived at the National Zoo in December 2000, along with Tian Tian, who will turn 23 at the end of the month. Reproductive scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) and Zoo veterinarians artificially inseminated Mei Xiang …..read more: