Giant Panda Mei Xiang Gives Birth

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Summary

  • At 5:32 p.m. on August 23, 2013, the National Zoological Park's Giant Panda, Mei Xiang (15), gives birth to a cub.
  • The healthy cub is the child of Mei Xiang, who was artificially inseminated twice March 30, 2013, after natural breeding attempts with the Zoo's male giant panda, Tian Tian, were unsuccessful. However, the father at first was unknown, since Mei Xiang was inseminated with sperm from both Tian Tian, and a male Giant Panda from the San Diego Zoo, Gao Gao. Mei Xiang has given birth to four cubs as the result of artificial insemination, but only two cubs have survived.
  • On September 5, 2013, the National Zoo announced that the panda cub was a female and was the offspring of Tian Tian. Tian Tian also sired the fraternal twin female cub that was stillborn. Zoo scientists used two tests to confirm the sex of both cubs. The first test was developed by scientists in China and analyzed a fragment of the zinc finger protein gene. The second test, also using a shorter fragment of the same zinc finger protein gene, was developed by Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute scientists and veterinarians. They used the second test to verify the results of the initial test. Zoo officials noted that Mei Xiang has been a great mother, focused solely on her newborn and that the cub is eating well and very vocal in communicating its needs.

Subject

  • Tian Tian
  • Mei Xiang
  • Gao Gao
  • National Zoological Park (U.S.) Panda House
  • National Zoological Park (U.S.)

Category

Chronology of Smithsonian History

Notes

  • National Zoological Park's Giant Panda Page, http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/GiantPandas/PandaUpdates/. Accessed August 27, 2013.
  • Stefanie E. Dazio and Michael E. Ruane, "Panda cub born to Mei Xiang at National Zoo," Washington Post, August 23, 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/national-zoos-panda-in-labor/2013/08/23/98044f06-0b55-11e3-9941-6711ed662e71_story.html.
  • National Zoological Park Press Release, "Giant Panda Cub at the Smithsonian's National Zoo is Female," http://nationalzoo.si.edu/publications/pressmaterials/pressreleases/press-release.cfm?id=600. Accessed 09/05/2013.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu

Date

August 23, 2013

Topic

  • Animals
  • Endangered ecosystems
  • Reproductive biology
  • Births
  • Giant panda
  • Endangered species

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