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National Zoo Welcomes Panda Cub

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In this file photo released by Smithsonian's National Zoo 4-month-old giant panda cub Tai Shan nuzzles his mother Mei Xiang, following his 12th health exam, Monday, Nov. 21, 2005, at the National Zoo in Washington.
AP Photo/Smithsonian's National Zoo, Jessie Cohen
In this file photo released by Smithsonian's National Zoo 4-month-old giant panda cub Tai Shan nuzzles his mother Mei Xiang, following his 12th health exam, Monday, Nov. 21, 2005, at the National Zoo in Washington.

The National Zoo's female giant panda, Mei Xiang, gave birth to a panda cub Sunday, Sept. 16 at 10:46 p.m.

The new arrival is Mei Xiang's second cub born as the result of artificial insemination, according to the zoo.

"The most important consistent thing is Mei Xiang," says chief veterinarian Suzan Murray. "She was a great mom for Tai Shan. She was very attentive... scooped him up right away, and with this cub she's doing the same thing."

The zoo's staff is using web cams to monitor the cub. They say their goal is for Mei Xiang to raise this cub naturally.

"She looks so tired, but every time she tries to lay down, the cub squawks and she sits right up and cradles the cub more closely," says Murray on the Zoo's website. "She is the poster child for a perfect panda mom."

Murray says they'll be able to do an examination on the cub in about two weeks. "It's really up to Mai Xiang. She decides when she's going to leave the cub, and we have to wait until she's gone long enough, so we can sneak in and get the cub. We hope that will be in about two weeks."

Visitors will not be allowed in the main panda house today, however, those hoping to get a peek can enter the upper portion of the deck.

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