- Title: USA: Giant panda gives birth in Washington, but who's the daddy?
- Date: 24th August 2013
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (FILE) (REUTERS) MEI XIANG ON A MONITOR RESEARCHER LOOKING AT MEI XIANG ON A MONITOR MEI XIANG MOVING AROUND ON A MONITOR
- Embargoed: 8th September 2013 13:00
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Topics: Environment
- Reuters ID: LVA4TDQTUCVKGQKJU8OM1TMBRHYL
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Giant panda gives birth to a cub at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington though it's not immediately clear who the father might be.
Throngs of people flocked to the National Zoo in Washington on Saturday (August 24), where giant panda, Mei Xiang gave birth to a cub on Friday (August 23).
While mother and cub were isolated for medical observation, visitors crowded around the giant panda habitat catching glimpses of the possible father, Tian Tian.
As spectators enjoyed sights of Tian Tian, the medical staff was keeping all eyes on Mei Xiang.
"She's doing really well. Just like last year she's taking really good care of this baby. She's been very attentive. We've heard the cub squealing quite a bit and she just seems to be doing everything we would expect for a mother to do," Panda Keeper, Marty Dearie said.
Researchers are still unable to determine the identity of cub's father, Dearie.
"There are two possibilities for the father. We did a artificial insemination. We used fresh and frozen sperm from our male, Tian Tian and we used frozen sperm from Gao Gao, who's the male in San Diego. At some point we will run a DNA test to determine paternity but that's not a critical thing right now," Dearie said.
Officials at the National Zoo say that it will be weeks before they are able to establish whether the cub is male or female and even longer before the cub can be named.
"We work in collaboration with the Chinese to name the cub and the tradition and the custom is to wait 100 days. So, in a hundred days from yesterday, there will be a naming of the cub," Pamela Baker-Masson said.
Animal lovers were celebrating the zoo's newest addition, with Ainsley Wong suggesting that the cub be named "Superstar."
Another young visitor, Bella, thought the cub should go by "Baby".
This was Mei Xiang's third pregnancy.
Her first cub was born in 2005 and now lives in China.
Her second cub died six days after birth in 2012, yet the Panda Team remains hopeful for mother and cub.
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