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National Zoo’s panda cub is healthy, officials say

Posted at 10:03 PM, Sep 17, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-17 22:03:50-04

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Washington’s newest, furriest power player has been given a clean bill of health, the National Zoo said Tuesday.

Not so giant yet, the giant panda cub weighed in at a little less than 2 pounds, up from the almost 5 ounces she weighed when she was first examined two days after she was born. She still hasn’t opened her eyes yet and measures 10.6 inches long from nose to tail, the zoo said in a statement.

Zoo officials are waiting 100 days to name the female cub in accordance with Chinese tradition. Born August 23, she has spent much of the last three weeks cradled in her mother’s arms, the zoo said.

National Zoo's panda cub is healthy, officials sayMother panda Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) placed her cub down and left her den Monday at 4:11 p.m., just the opportunity zoo officials had been waiting for to conduct an examination. The panda team moved in and performed a lightning fast veterinary exam, completing it by 4:31 p.m.

When Mei Xiang returned to the den after the examination was completed, she immediately picked up the cub and began grooming her.

“It’s amazing to see how much she has grown in less than one month,” senior mammal curator Brandie Smith, said in the statement. “Mei Xiang continues to be a great mom, as she was with her first cub, Tai Shan, and it shows.”

The panda habitat will remain closed to the public for now to provide mother and cub needed quiet. Both can be seen on panda cams.