Keepers at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo performed the first neonatal exam on the baby of giant panda Mei Xiang on Sunday.
The checkup took place after Mei Xiang left her den for a little while to eat some bamboo, allowing the panda team to take the three-week-old cub for the procedure.
The newborn was found to be healthy, strong, active and responsive. He weighed just a little less than 1.5 pounds.
“At a glance, the cub’s wispy fur is growing in nicely. Its bright, pink skin still shows in spots on its muzzle, the top of its head, upper back and tail. In another few weeks, its eyes and ear canals will begin to open,” the Zoo wrote in a statement.
🐼❤️ Exciting news! When giant panda Mei Xiang left the den yesterday to eat some bamboo, the panda team was able to retrieve her 3-week-old cub for its first neonatal exam. ✏️ READ THE UPDATE: https://t.co/MahojQQElB. #PandaStory #PandaCubdates pic.twitter.com/Y8mz4Q2EXB
— National Zoo (@NationalZoo) September 14, 2020
The Zoo’s veterinary team will join the keepers to perform a full medical exam on the cub in the near future.
The zookeepers have not been able to determine the sex of the panda cub yet. However, they will soon take a cheek swab so that scientists at the Zoo’s Center for Conservation Genomics can confirm its sex via DNA analysis.
In another development, viewers of the Zoo’s Panda Cam spotted rodents inside the den that houses Mei Xiang and her cub. A team of pest management specialists are teaming up with other employees to reduce the rodent population, according to the statement by the Zoo, which noted that they avoid using pesticides or traps in the animals’ enclosures for their safety.