The Smithsonian's National Zoo Veterinarian Suzan Murray shared the inside scoop on the long-awaited birth of Mei Xiang and Tian Tian's cub, Tai Shan.
The Long-Awaited Birth
When was the National Zoo's panda cub born? What was the birth like?
Why Artificial Insemination?
When was Mei Xiang artificially inseminated and why was this method chosen instead of the regular mating process?
Artificial Insemination Explained
Explain the use of artificial insemination in pandas and its sucesses/failures.
Difficulties of Conception
Why is it so difficult for pandas to conceive?
How long is panda gestation and how long with the cub stay with its mother?
Caring for the Cub
What are the main ways that a mother panda cares for her cub?
About the Baby
Is it true that a baby panda is the size of a stick of butter? What other characteristics does a baby panda have? Is it born blind? Can it hear?
The Father's Role
What is the father's role in parenting the panda? Will he become more active in the process later?
Naming the Cub
When will the cub be named? How are pandas named?
What is the difference from how the zoo handles this panda pregnacy versus the previous pandas? What lessons have been learned since the 1980s?
What has been the most surprising thing about this panda pregnancy, now that you've had a chance to observe after so much preparation?
Pandas on the Rise?
How many new cubs have been born in the US so far? Are panda births increasing worldwide?
How do you work with the Chinese in ensuring the success of this birth? What advice have they given and are we getting any closer to understanding how to save the panda?
What are the next milestones for the baby cub and what are the zoo's hopes as it looks ahead.
Preparing for Pregnancy
How did panda training prepare Mei Xiang for this pregnancy?