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National Zoo’s Panda Gives Birth

July 9, 2005

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The National Zoo’s giant panda Mei Xiang gave birth to a single cub early Saturday, the zoo announced.

Peper Long, a zoo spokeswoman, said the cub, which weighs just ounces, was born at 3:41 a.m. The cub is the first for the zoo’s current pair of the rare and endangered bears.

The mother and cub were doing well, ``but the first few days are critical,″ Long said.

Five other panda cubs have been born at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, but none survived, she said.

Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated with semen from Tian Tian, the zoo’s male panda, earlier this year after the pandas failed to mate naturally.

It was too early to determine the gender and exact weight of the cub.

Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, two of the most popular and closely watched celebrities in the capital, are on loan from the China Wildlife Conservation Association.

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On the Net: http://nationalzoo.si.edu/

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