“Today was another weigh-in day! The cub now weighs 10.8 pounds (4.9 kilos). And keepers have noticed that she is responding to the noises she hears. When the keepers enter the den to take her for weights and measurements, she orients herself toward them. They also have been talking more when they are around her, which they hope will make her more familiar with their voices. So far they have just been referring to her as “cub” or “baby,” but soon the cub will have a name!
Today is the last day to rock the vote for the cub’s name! Add your vote to the more than 115,000 votes that have already been cast. The cub’s name will be revealed at a ceremony on December 1, which will be open to the public.”
“The panda cub was weighed and measured again this morning! She now weighs 9.68 pounds (4.4 kilos). She is still very round measuring 18.11 inches (46 centimeters) around her belly. But her nose is starting to lose it’s pink color and turn black like an adult panda nose. She is also crawling with a lot more control now. Mei Xiang hasn’t ventured out of the den with her again, but she does periodically move the cub to the doorway of the den.
Don’t forget to cast your vote to name our giant panda cub! More than 85,000 people have voted so far! The poll is open until November 22. On December 1, when the cub is 100 days old, we will announce the winning name.”
“Our panda cub is growing bigger and bigger! She now weighs a hefty 8.14 pounds, and her tail is starting to shrink relative to the size of her body. And keepers report that they are starting to see ridges where her teeth will erupt. The cub devotes a lot of energy to scooting and crawling around the den, and keepers predict that it won’t be much longer before she’s ready to take her first steps.
On November 3, the cub caught her first glimpse of the world outside her den. Mei brought the cub into her larger indoor exhibit area for about 30 seconds, before carrying the cub back inside. Since then, Mei has taken the cub on several more brief excursions into the outside world.
Although she won’t be ready for her public debut for a while, the cub is now old enough for keepers to start her training! Keepers are getting the cub accustomed to their presence and noise.
We’re asking for your help to name our panda cub! Be sure to vote for your favorite name on Smithsonian.com. The voting page has exclusive photos of the cub and a brand new video with memorable moments from the panda cams, sponsored by the Ford Motor Company Fund.
“The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is asking for help to name its female giant panda cub. Panda fans can vote for their favorite name on Smithsonian.com beginning today at 2 p.m. EST until Nov. 22. The winning name will be revealed at a ceremony Dec. 1, when the cub is 100 days old. It is tradition in China to celebrate when a baby turns 100 days old. Voters will have five Mandarin Chinese names to choose from:
Bao Bao (宝宝) — precious, treasure. Ling Hua (玲花) — darling, delicate flower. Long Yun (龙韵) — Long is the Chinese symbol of the dragon, Yun means charming. Combined this represents a sign of luck for panda cooperation between China and the U.S. Mulan (木兰) — a legendary young woman, a smart and brave Chinese warrior from the fifth century; it also means magnolia flower in Chinese. Zhen Bao (珍宝) — treasure, valuable.
People’s Republic of China Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai, U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke and his family, giant panda keepers at the National Zoo, giant panda keepers from the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong, and Friends of the National Zoo each submitted a name for the cub.
On the voting webpage (available in English and Mandarin) voters and avid panda fans alike can learn more about the cub and her parents, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, and giant panda research at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. The page will also include exclusive never-before-seen photos of the cub.
When the cub is 4 years old she will move permanently to the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong where she will enter into the giant panda breeding program. Scientists at the Center were part of the teams assembled to perform artificial inseminations on Mei Xiang from 2011 to 2013. SCBI scientists are traveling to China this month to participate in the giant panda technical meeting.
“Mei Xiang is now venturing outside for breakfast, and is spending up to two hours away from the cub at a time. As the cub matures that time will increase, and eventually mother and cub will be comfortable spending many hours away from each other. That will also give us more time for training sessions with Mei and for checks on the cub, so cam watchers may notice that the cams may be focused on Mei when she’s away from the cub. We are using Mei’s time outside to do regular cub exams and weigh and measure the cub. Last week, we noticed that the cub is even sleeping through the exams! This makes sense, however, given Mei’s attentive maternal care. She nurses the cub before she goes outside for breakfast, allowing the cub to rest back in the den during her departure. Mei Xiang even took that opportunity to take a nap herself on Thursday, enjoying the cool fall air on her favorite resting spot on top of the grotto in her yard.
Keepers were able to weigh and measure the cub yesterday. She now weighs 7.7 pounds (3.5 kilos) and she’s 23 inches long (59 centimeters). Her right front paw measured in at 2.4 inches long (6 centimeters) and her hind paws at 3 inches (8 centimeters). Her eyes have opened a little more and are now almost fully open.”
“The cub has has another growth spurt since last week! She’s gained almost an entire pound since Friday, October 18. At her veterinary exam this morning she weighed in at 6.73 pounds (3.06 kilograms), and received her first vaccine.
Veterinarians reported that the cub is very healthy, and despite receiving a vaccine she rested comfortably through much of the exam. She is 16.5 inches (42 centimeters) around her belly and 19.29 inches (49 centimeters) long.
The cub has started crawling and can often be seen testing her new motor skills in the den on the panda cams, sponsored in part by the Ford Motor Company Fund. Visitors to the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat may see the cub’s mother, Mei Xiang (may-SHONG), outside in the mornings around 8 a.m. She has been leaving the den and the cub for increasingly longer periods to go outside and to eat. This morning she was outside for a little more than an hour.”
“The gates at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo will open to the public Friday, October 18! The live animal cams were turned off during the government shutdown, including the panda cams. The Zoo’s Information Technology staff began the process of bringing the live animal cams back online Thursday morning, starting with the panda cams. The 15 different camera systems required federal resources, primarily staff, to operate and were deemed non-essential during a shutdown.
With the return of the cams, giant panda fans can once again watch the Zoo’s eight week-old cub and her mother Mei Xiang. Since the panda cams went dark the cub has grown and passed several developmental milestones. She weighs five pounds (2.557 kilograms), up from 3.07 pounds (1.39 kilograms) at her veterinary exam September 26. She also has partially opened her eyes. Keepers noticed that her right eye had started to open October 4. By October 11, both her eyes had partially opened. Her ears are also fully open and she now reacts to the noises she hears in the panda house. (more…)