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D.C. zoo on panda watch

D.C. zoo on panda watch
WAP2000122504 - DECEMBER 2000 - WASHINGTON, DC, USA: The National ZooÕs female giant panda, Mei Xiang, arrived on December 6, 2000, in Washington D.C. from the China Research and Conservation Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong, china. She is resting in her enclosure at the Zoo. rlw/National Zoo/Jessie Cohen UPI. | License Photo

WASHINGTON, June 4 (UPI) -- Zookeepers in Washington say they have their ducks in a row just in case their giant panda Mei Xiang becomes pregnant.

There has been no confirmation that Mei is actually expecting, but the National Zoo will be prepared for any contingency down to the possibility she rejects the cub.

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"I wasn't this prepared for having my own kids," senior curator Brandie Smith told The Washington Post.

Smith and her team have an incubator set up and have developed a panda baby formula the consistency of buttermilk -- stirred, not blended.

Mei was artificially inseminated in January and recently built herself a nest of bamboo and mulberry branches. If Mei is indeed pregnant, the cub could be born within a few weeks, the Post said Saturday.

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