The San Diego Zoo's 5-week-old giant panda had its weekly exam on Thursday. After getting only their third look at the cub, veterinarians determined the 3.2-pound baby panda is a boy.
Veterinarian Meg Sutherland Smith, DVM, said despite being a bit lighter in weight than Bai Yun's previous five cubs, this baby panda looks very healthy with a belly girth of 12 inches, indicating he is eating well. The 13-inch-long cub gained 1 pound from last week's exam. His ear canals are just beginning to open, but his eyes remain shut.
The San Diego Zoo follows the Chinese cultural tradition of naming the giant panda after it is 100 days old. The Zoo has received support for its giant panda conservation program from people around the world for decades. To thank them, the Zoo will again be asking for the public's help to name the cub. Details will follow soon.
The pair will remain in the den for several months and can be observed on the San Diego Zoo's live Panda Cam at www.sandiegozoo.org/pandacam.
Bai Yun has given birth to six cubs at the San Diego Zoo. Four of these six cubs have moved to the People's Republic of China where they have joined the giant panda conservation and breeding program.
Giant pandas are on a research loan to the San Diego Zoo from China. As part of this long-term program, the San Diego Zoo is also collaborating with the Chinese Academy of Science in studies of behavior, ecology, genetics and conservation of wild pandas living in the Foping Nature Reserve.
Only 1,600 giant pandas are believed to exist in the wild, and the species is primarily threatened by habitat loss. The San Diego Zoo, in conjunction with Chinese panda experts, is working to support science-based conservation of the species.
The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy is dedicated to bringing endangered species back from the brink of extinction. The work of the Conservancy includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, and international field programs in more than 35 countries. In addition, San Diego Zoo Global manages the Anne and Kenneth Griffin Reptile Conservation Center, the Frozen ZooTM and Native Seed Gene Bank, the Keauhou and Maui Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Centers, San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike Breeding Facility, Cocha Cashu Biological Research Station, the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center, and a 800-acre biodiversity reserve adjacent to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.
SOURCE and LINK:
San Diego Zoo
Panda Second Exam - Photo taken on August 30, 2012, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo - © 2012 Zoological Society of San Diego