2-week-old panda cub is female

2013-09-05 16:06
A baby giant panda born recently undergoes a veterinary exam. (David Goldman, AP, file)

A baby giant panda born recently undergoes a veterinary exam. (David Goldman, AP, file)

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Washington - The Smithsonian's National Zoo says its two-week-old giant panda cub is female.

The Washington zoo also revealed on Thursday that the cub's father is National Zoo panda Tian Tian.

Panda mother Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated with sperm from Tian Tian, as well as a panda named Gao Gao at the San Diego Zoo. It takes time to determine a cub's gender, and a DNA sample was collected to determine the cub's paternity.

A second, stillborn, cub delivered a day later was also female and also sired by Tian Tian, officials said. The cubs were fraternal twins.

The surviving panda cub has been described as healthy and active. Zookeepers conducted a 10-minute physical examination days after it was born. Veterinarians said the cub had a steady heartbeat and appeared to be digesting its food.

China owns the pandas. The cub is expected to stay with her mother for a little over two years until she is weaned. Mei Xiang's only other surviving cub, a male named Tai Shan, was born in 2005 and was returned to China in 2010.

The endangered pandas are famous for being difficult in breeding and producing cubs.

- AP
Read more on:    us  |  china  |  animals
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