THE GIANT PANDA Mei Xiang has given birth.
It’s very big news around the Washington Beltway.
The National Zoo’s female giant panda gave birth to a cub Sunday night, stunning and delighting zoo officials and sparking a new wave of panda mania in Washington seven years after the zoo’s only other cub was born in 2005. The cub was born at 10:46 p.m. to Mei Xiang, the zoo said, and curator Becky Malinsky happened to be watching the 24-hour-a-day panda camera feed and heard the first squealing of the newborn
“I got a call . . . a little after 10:45” from a senior curator saying “the behavior watcher just saw a birth,” said Don Moore, associate director for animal-care sciences. “I said, ‘Yeah, yeah, it’s not April Fools’ yet, so I’m going back to bed. ’ She said, ‘No, no, really. There’s been a panda. Congratulations.’ ”
Moore said the panda camera caught the moment of birth. “She kind of breathes funny and then she jerks her body, and then she stands up and kind of looks at something for just seconds . . . and then picks it up.”