Home Consumer National Zoo: We’re Expecting! Mei Xiang’s Pregnant

National Zoo: We’re Expecting! Mei Xiang’s Pregnant

By Discovery News, Aug 20, 2015 – On its Facebook page, the Smithsonian National Zoo announced that giant panda Mei Xiang’s ultrasound today showed something exciting: a fetus of about 4 centimeters long.

Smithsonian veterinarians are targeting a birth date of anywhere from August 28 through the middle of September, provided it’s able to avoid being stillborn or resorbed (disintegrated and reabsorbed) by Mei Xiang. (The Smithsonian notes that the latter possibility is still little understood in mammals.)

The zoo has been monitoring Mei Xiang for much of the summer, and this is the first ultrasound that’s confirmed the presence of a fetus.

Giant Pandas Coming Into Focus: Photos

For now Mei Xiang is spending a lot of time in her den sleeping. She’s also doing more body licking and she’s growing fond of cradling objects. These behaviors are consistent with pregnancy, the zoo said.

Faith Based Events

The zoo staff says it’s now on “cubwatch” 24 hours per day, keeping a close eye on Mei Xiang with its panda cams.

“Today, we are cautiously optimistic,” Smithsonian’s National Zoo Director Dennis Kelly told NBC4 Washington. “We want a healthy cub for all the right conservation reasons. I am excited, but I have to say that we were prepared for a cub even before this morning’s ultrasound. I’ll just ask everyone to remain positive with us.”

[vc_cta_button call_text=” ” title=”READ MORE” target=”_blank” color=”btn-info” icon=”none” size=”btn-large” position=”cta_align_bottom” css_animation=”appear” href=”http://news.discovery.com/animals/zoo-animals/giant-panda-mei-xiang-pregnant-ultrasound-shows-150819.htm”]