Helping Nature Along: Breeding Giant Pandas
Photo: Smithsonian's National Zoo
A New Cub is Born
On Sept 17, the day the new panda was born, National Zoo director Dennis Kelly watched the Panda Cam for signs of the cub.
Reproductive physiologists at the zoo had not been able to confirm whether Mei Xiang was pregnant. So it wasn't until staff heard the characteristic squeals of a newborn panda that they knew the artificial insemination procedure had succeeded.
After conception, it can take an average of three to five months before a female giant panda goes into labor. A fertilized egg can take up to two months to implant inside the uterus, which accounts for the varied lengths of gestation periods.