This morning, at about 7:15, we had our first opportunity to examine Bai Yun’s newest cub. For the past week or so, Bai Yun has developed a regular habit of leaving the den to get breakfast in her sun room. Today, we took advantage of Bai Yun’s breakfast outing to get our first real look at the cub. The exam lasted only 3 minutes, but in that time our veterinarians were able to determine that the 25-day-old cub is healthy and weighs in at a robust 704 grams (24.8 ounces or 1.55 pounds). For comparison, Yun Zi weighed 1,259 grams (2.8 pounds) at 29 days (see Baby’s First Exam), Zhen Zhen weighed 1,020 grams or 2.2 pounds at 26 days, and Su Lin was 618 grams (22 ounces) at 22 days. The cub was quiet at the outset of the exam, but soon enough gave us a great display of its strong lungs!
Veterinarians were able to do a quick, yet thorough, exam of the cub’s limbs, mouth, ears, and more, and we’re happy to report that everything looks good! While it may be a few more weeks before we know what the cub’s sex is, or whether or not it has webbed toes or a spot on its tail, today was an important step in confirming that this cub has the most important quality that a panda cub can have: good health!
Bai Yun also showed us her best maternal behavior. She began eating her breakfast away from the cub, in the sun room, as usual, when the cub emitted a loud squawk during the exam. Bai Yun made it clear that she wanted to return to the den to be with the cub, so the exam was halted. Her maternal behavior continues to be exemplary and, clearly, she is doing a great job taking care of her latest cub. We are all so lucky to see this amazing mother in action!
Megan Owen is a conservation program manager for the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. Read her previous post, Panda Cub: True Colors.
Note: See more exam photos on our Panda Photo Gallery.