This panda cub is the size of a stick of butter

The birth of a giant panda cub caused a zoo’s livestream to crash as animal lovers tried to catch a glimpse of the mother and her baby.

The National Zoo in Washington’s Panda Cam traffic spiked 1,200% over the past week after the pregnancy was announced.

The newborn, whose gender has not been confirmed, was born at about 6.35pm on Friday.

It will not be named for 100 days in accordance with tradition.

Panda cuddles her tiny baby after rare birth in Washington DC
Image:The mother Mei Xiang is seen cuddling her baby in their enclosure
Panda cuddles her tiny baby after rare birth in Washington DC
Image:The mother cuddles her tiny baby after the rare birth in Washington DC

The cub, which is roughly the size of a stick of butter, could be heard squealing in the livestream.

Its mother, named Mei Xiang, picked it up and started cradling it.

Brandie Smith, a former curator of the zoo’s giant pandas who has overseen several births there, said: “We can tell the cub is doing well from its vocalisations and the mother’s behaviour.”

More from US

  • Portland: Violent clashes erupt between left and right-wing protesters in Oregon

  • Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Jack Sherman dies aged 64

  • California: Almost 12,000 lightning strikes spark some of biggest ever wildfires in US state

  • Golden State Killer sentenced to life in prison over serial rapes and murders

  • Trump: ‘You might never know election result – maybe years but maybe never’

  • Lori Loughlin gets two months in prison over bribes for daughters’ uni places

Zoo staff remain ready to intervene if something seems wrong, but Ms Smith said the mother has reared three cubs to adulthood and “knows exactly what she is doing”.

Zoo officials had a hard time accessing the livestream themselves after it started crashing due to the extra traffic.

Ms Smith said: “When we have a giant panda baby, the whole world celebrates.”

Panda cuddles her tiny baby after rare birth in Washington DC
Image:The mother will not leave her baby’s side for about a week

Zoo staff are letting the mother and baby share some private time for now.

Mei Xiang will remain with her baby in a small indoor enclosure where she has built a modest nest.

She will not leave her baby’s side even to eat or drink for about a week.

The cub will remain in the den for its first few months of life.

For now it is pink and hairless; their distinctive black and white fur comes later.

Meanwhile, its father Tian Tian seems blissfully oblivious – rolling around his outdoor enclosure on Saturday morning.

Giant pandas are almost entirely solitary, and in the wild it would be normal for Tian Tian to never meet his offspring.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *