National Zoo's giant panda cub gets clean bill of health

Sept. 18, 2013 at 2:02 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- The giant panda cub born at the National Zoo in Washington was given a clean bill of health following her first veterinary exam, zoo officials said.

"It's amazing to see how much she has grown in less than one month," Brandie Smith, the zoo's senior curator of mammals and giant pandas, said Tuesday in a release. "Mei Xiang continues to be a great mom ... and it shows."

Mei Xiang, who has spent much of the past three and a half weeks cradling her cub, finally put the cub down and left the den late Tuesday afternoon. The panda team, which was looking for an opportunity to conduct a full exam, examined the cub while Mei Xiang ate bamboo and drank some water in the adjacent enclosure.

The exam took about 20 minutes.

The cub -- whose has not yet been given a name -- put on some weight since her initial checkup two days after she was born Aug. 23. She weighs slightly less than 2 pounds now -- up from the 5 ounces she weighed at birth -- and has the signature black markings of a giant panda, zoo officials said.

Veterinarians said the cub is 10.6 inches long from nose to tail and 9.8 inches wide around her belly.

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