Pandawatchers still recovering from yesterday’s sad news that the smaller of Mei Xiang’s twin cubs died just four days after birth can rest assured that the surviving cub “overall looks great.”
So says the National Zoo in a press release issued around noon, which is continuing to provide daily updates on the panda family. “Mother Mei Xiang is showing proper maternal care which includes short sleep cycles and adjusting the tiny cub in her arms for better positioning and grooming,” the release explains. “The staff heard strong vocalizations from the cub and observed it a couple times during the night. The cub is growing more hair [and] its tail looks plump.”
You can hear those “vocalizations” for yourself on the zoo’s panda cam, footage from which we present here:
Although veterinarians haven’t yet determined the cub’s gender or who its father is, it will develop pandas’ signature black-and-white fur over the next week, as patches appear around its eyes, ears, and shoulders. Within a month and a half, it may grow up to ten times its birth weight of 138 grams.
The cub, however, won’t be able to see until after then: Pandas are born blind, just like rabbits.
Screenshot from National Zoo’s panda cam.