It’s a girl! Zoo geneticists confirm that our giant panda cub is a girl AND her father is Tian Tian! #cubwatch
1. This is the newest member of the giant panda family at Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., pictured here at 2 days old.
2. The cub was born on Aug. 23, but zoo officials just announced Thursday that DNA samples revealed she is female. Here she is at 13 days:
3. The samples also confirmed that Tian Tian, the zoo’s male giant panda, is her father.
4. Here’s Mei Xiang giving birth to the cub:
5. Mei Xiang previously had trouble conceiving with Tian Tian. Last year, she gave birth to a cub that died at six days. The zoo decided to artificially inseminate her this year with sperm from Tian Tian and San Diego Zoo’s Gao Gao.
6. The female cub was delivered with a stillborn fraternal twin. But the zoo has described the baby as healthy and active, having survived for at least 10 days. Giant panda cubs are named when they are 100 days old.
7. “It’s got a fat little belly,” Senior Curator Brandie Smith said. “It’s very active, very vocal … We’re finally starting to really celebrate.”
8. Mei Xiang and Tian Tian are owned by China. Mei Xiang’s other cub, Tai Shan, was born in 2005 and sent to China five years later.
Tai Shan at 7 months old.
CORRECTION: Mei Xiang’s last cub died at six days. An earlier version of this item misstated its age at death. (9/5/13)