National Zoo shares remarkable giant-panda ultrasound as mama Mei Xiang prepares to give birth

The Nationwide Zoo has seen an enormous bump in views to its panda-cams. 

Smithsonian Nationwide Zoo

In dark times like these, all of us want hope. And it appears like large panda Mei Xiang may ship some shortly within the type of a bouncing bundle of furry pleasure.   

The 22-year-old pregnant panda at Washington’s Smithsonian Nationwide Zoo may give beginning as quickly as this week, and an enormous bump in views to the institution’s panda-cams suggests wild enthusiasm for the pending arrival of a child member of the threatened species. 

“In the course of a pandemic, it is a joyful second we will all get enthusiastic about,” Don Neiffer, chief veterinarian on the Nationwide Zoo, stated in a press release. “We’re optimistic that very shortly she could give beginning to a wholesome cub or cubs.” 

Neiffer carried out an ultrasound on Mei Xiang on Monday that confirmed her fetus kicking and swimming within the amniotic fluid, in addition to a clearly seen backbone and blood move. When you’ve by no means seen a panda ultrasound earlier than, it is a slightly exceptional sight. 

“Hold your paws crossed,” the zoo posted on YouTube. “We’re watching her intently and welcome everybody to observe with us on the panda cams.” And loads of persons are tuning in, with panda-cam viewership up 800%, the Associated Press reports. When you’re on full-tilt panda watch, you can too comply with Mei Xiang’s progress on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram utilizing the hashtag #PandaStory. 


Mei Xiang rests quietly on Tuesday. 

Nationwide Zoo screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET

Mei Xiang, who has already given beginning to 3 surviving cubs, was artificially inseminated in March with frozen semen collected from her 22-year-old zoo-mate Tian Tian. The 2 pandas arrived in DC from China on Dec. 6, 2000, and zoo consultants have studied them intently to raised perceive giant-panda biology and conservation. Large pandas are categorized as weak on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and captive breeding programs have centered on synthetic insemination as a technique to enhance panda numbers. 

After closing because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Nationwide Zoo partially reopened in July, with customary COVID-19 restrictions like social distancing and required masks in place. The panda home on the David M. Rubenstein Household Large Panda Habitat, nevertheless, stays closed so Mei Xiang can relaxation in quiet.   

There does stay a “substantial” risk that Mei Xiang may resorb or miscarry the fetus, the zoo says, however hopefully the mama bear understands how a lot the world wants cub cuteness proper now. 

Come via for us, Mei Xiang.  

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Leslie Katz