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Anxiety Abounds For National Zoo's New Panda Cub

Mei Xiang's baby spotted several times on video

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Mother panda Mei Xiang with Tai Shan, her first surviving cub, born in 2005. Only a few glimpses of her new cub have been spotted so far.
Jessie Cohen/Smithsonian's National Zoo
Mother panda Mei Xiang with Tai Shan, her first surviving cub, born in 2005. Only a few glimpses of her new cub have been spotted so far.

The birth of a panda cub this week at National Zoo was cause for celebration, but now nail-biting has begun.

Panda cubs are born hairless and helpless, about the size of a stick of butter. The tiny cubs are at risk for infections and so small that it's not unheard of for panda moms to accidentally crush their young, according to the Associated Press.

For the National Zoo, which has only had one panda cub survive, the memories of past tragedies are real.

Zoo officials are watching panda mom Mei Xiang and her cub via video camera around the clock, and have so far spotted it just a handful of times. It will be a few weeks before they can get in and examine the cub, and you can expect that the newborn will not make it's public debut for several months.

Every week that passes, zoo officials say they will breathe a little easier.

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