Two Tiny Panda Cubs Born at National Zoo

Giant panda Mei Xiang gave birth to not one but two cubs at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015.

12 photos
Smithsonian's National Zoo
Double the cuteness! Giant panda Mei Xiang gave birth to two cubs Saturday, almost two years to the day after giving birth to her daughter, Bao Bao.
Smithsonian's National Zoo
Mei Xiang was seen picking up and licking her first cub at 5:35 p.m. Saturday, live on the zoo's panda cams; a second cub was born just after 10 p.m.
Smithsonian's National Zoo
The second newborn giant panda cub retrieved from Mei Xiang's pen at the Naitonal Zoo on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015.
Smithsonian's National Zoo
Panda cubs are born tiny and hairless, with their eyes sealed shut.
Smithsonian's National Zoo
The zoo's panda house will stay closed until further notice while the new mama and a team of vets take care of the babies, the zoo said. Visitors can see 2-year-old Bao Bao and male giant panda Tian Tian in the outside enclosure.
Smithsonian's National Zoo via AP
One of the giant panda cubs is examined by vets after its birth. The second cub, which vets were able to retrieve first, weighed about 138 grams (nearly five ounces). Around 6:30 a.m. Sunday, vets were able to swap out the cubs. The first born cub weighed in at just over 86 grams, about three ounces.
Smithsonian's National Zoo
Both cubs will get most of the nutritional needs from their mother, but they will receive a supplement from vets if it is needed, said Don Neiffer, chief veterinarian of the Smithsonian's National Zoo. He said the supplement is a mix of baby formula, puppy formula and water.
Smithsonian's National Zoo
The cubs will not receive their names until 100 days after their birth in a naming ceremony. Neiffer said there were no unofficial nicknames for the cubs.
Smithsonian's National Zoo
The first retrieved giant panda cub born Aug. 22, 2015, at the Smithsonian's National Zoo being examined by veterinarians.
Smithsonian's National Zoo
There's a protocol for twin panda births, which happen about 50 percent of the time in the difficult and often-disappointing world of giant panda procreation. The Zoo's panda team will swap the cubs into the enclosure, allowing one to feed and bond with Mei Xiang while the other is bottle-fed and cared for in an incubator, the Zoo said.
Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute
Giant Panda Mei Xiang in labor before giving birth on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015.
Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Giant panda bear cub Bao Bao (L) and her mother Mei Xiang move around inside the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park January 6, 2014 in Washington, DC. Born August 23, 2013, and weighing nearly 17 pounds, Bao Bao will make her public debut at the zoo on January 18. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Contact Us