Thursday, December 2, 2010

Newborn Panda at Atlanta Zoo Is a Boy

It's a boy! The giant panda cub born earlier this month at Zoo Atlanta is a little man with a big belly who is already showing his black and white markings, a zoo spokeswoman said Friday.

Veterinarians had to wait about two weeks before they could pry the baby from its mother long enough for an exam to decide whether it was male or female. "The exam yesterday showed his skin looks good. He's got a nice little belly from nursing. He is doing very well," said spokeswoman Keisha Hines.

The cub was born to 13-year-old giant panda Lun Lun. He is the panda's third offspring with her mate, Yang Yang. And Lun Lun is "doing great. She is a great third time mom," said Hines.

The boy cub, who is the only panda to be born in the United States this year, has not been named yet, since according to Chinese tradition children are not named until they reach 100 days old.

He probably to go on display for the public in late February or early March, Hines said. Lun Lun's other son Xi Lan, who was born in 2008, resides at the Atlanta zoo. Her daughter Mei Lan, born in 2006, was sent to China in February.

Fewer than 1,600 giant pandas are expected to remain in the wild, and some 280 live in zoos around the world.