Giant panda Mei Xiang gives birth at National Zoo in Washington, D.C.
Panda cam is the new puppy cam. For those who remember the Shiba Inu pups that caused a sensation in 2008, there’s a new live viral video in town — the one that the Smithsonian’s National Zoo set up for a brand-new baby panda.
The 24-hour panda cam is currently live after the National Zoo’s resident giant panda, Mei Xiang, gave birth Sunday night to a tiny cub the size of a stick of butter. (Whoever actually sees the cub first wins — word is that Mei Xiang is keeping the tiny bundle of joy under a nest of hay in her den.)
National Zoo director Dennis Kelly says he is “glued to the panda cam” for his own first look at the cub. He also says he is “cautiously optimistic” but believes that Mei Xiang will be a good mommy for the new panda. This is the giant panda’s second birth from artificial insemination; her last cub, Tai Shan, was born in 2005. Mei Xiang reportedly had only a 10 percent chance of getting pregnant through the procedure, as giving birth in captivity is a rare event for pandas.
The panda cam is the only way excited panda-lovers will see the new cub for at least three months. That’s how long the zoo says it’s planning on keeping the pandas under wraps, to give them some peace and time to bond. In the meantime, fans can keep their eyes on the panda cam and decide on the new addition’s name. Four names, all approved by the China Wildlife Conservation Association, have been put to the vote via Internet poll.
There are less than 2,000 giant pandas remaining in the wild. All of the National Zoo’s pandas are Chinese property and are actually out on loan; Tai Shan was returned to China in 2009. So catch the panda cam while you can, and post your comments on the creature cuties below!