Watch Live: Smithsonian’s giant panda could give birth this weekend

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Giant panda Mei Xiang could be welcoming a new member of the Smithsonian National Zoo this weekend. The zoo says tissue consistent with fetal development was found during an ultrasound Friday morning. If it continues to develop, the zoo says Mei Xiang could give birth in the next few days.

Veterinarians first found the fetal tissue last week and have been keeping a close eye on it since. The giant panda team has been conducting ultrasounds regularly since July to track changes in Mei Xiang’s reproductive tract.

“In the middle of a pandemic, this is a joyful moment we can all get excited about,” said Don Neiffer, chief veterinarian at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo who conducted the ultrasound. “We are optimistic that very shortly she may give birth to a healthy cub or cubs. We’re fortunate that Mei Xiang participated in the ultrasound allowing us to get sharp images and video. We’re watching her closely and welcome everyone to watch with us on the panda cams.”   

Mei Xiang turned 22 years old July 22. She was articially inseminated in March with frozen semen collected from Tian Tian, who will turn 23 on August 27.

The zoo says Mei Xiang is now sleeping more, eating less, nest-building, and body licking, all behaviors associated with pregnancy in giant pandas.

Mei Xiang has given birth to three surviving cubs: Tai Shan, Bao Bao, and Bei Bei.

Click here to watch the panda cams from the Smithsonian National Zoo.

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