National Zoo Panda Birth Spotlights Survival Challenges

The National Zoo’s female panda, Mei Xiang, gave birth on Friday.

Mei Xiang, the National Zoo's giant panda, looks at her newborn cub on Friday.


A giant panda at Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington gave birth to a cub Friday night, the latest chapter in a long saga of breeding attempts that has shown how very difficult it is for endangered giant pandas to reproduce.

The National Zoo's female panda, Mei Xiang, gave birth at 5:32 p.m. on Friday, then "picked up the cub and immediately began cradling and caring for it," the zoo said in a statement.

"Chief veterinarian Suzan Murray says that Mei Xiang & the cub appear to be doing well," the zoo said via Twitter.