National Zoo's baby giant panda is a boy

Aug. 2, 2005 at 3:30 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- It's a boy, Washington's National Zoo said Tuesday of its baby giant panda -- a mystery that was solved when mother Mei Xiang left for a bite of bamboo.

Workers got their first close-up look at the cub born July 9 during a nine-minute examination.

Zoo officials said the male weighs 1.82 pounds and is getting the giant panda's characteristic markings, the Washington Post reported.

The cub is the first for Mei Xiang, who ate no food until July 25. Workers waited until she left for at least several minutes of munching bamboo to take their first close-up look.

Mei Xiang and father Tian Tian arrived from China in 2000 in a 10-year, $10 million loan. The cub also is the property of China, for which the zoo will pay up to $600,000 more.

The money goes for conservation projects. Just 2,000 giant pandas remain in the wild.

Zoo officials said the Panda House would be closed until at least early October to let mother and cub bond.

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