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Giant panda in Washington zoo gives birth

Published on Sep 17, 2012 9:33 PM
Giant panda Mei Xiang, 7, walks in her outdoor enclosure at the National Zoo in Washington in this file photo taken on Nov 29, 2005. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A giant panda lent to the United States by China and living at the National Zoo in the US capital has given birth to a cub, zoo officials said on Monday.

The birth occurred at about 10.46pm local time on Sunday (10.46am Singapore time), according to the zoo's chief veterinarian, Dr Suzan Murray. Mei Xiang, as the mother panda is called, "is cradling her cub closely, and she looks so tired," Dr Murray said in a statement.

"But every time she tries to lay down, the cub squawks, and she sits right up and cradles the cub more closely," Dr Murray added. "She is the poster child for a perfect panda mom." Zoo officials said they believed there was only one cub, but they would know for sure later in the day if the cub was to have a twin.

They said their goal was for Mei Xiang to raise this cub naturally. In the meantime, the cub and its mum are being monitored by webcam.