The birth of a giant panda cub caused a zoo’s livestream to crash as animal lovers tried to catch a glimpse of the mother and her baby.
The National Zoo in Washington’s Panda Cam traffic spiked 1,200% over the past week after the pregnancy was announced.
The newborn, whose gender has not been confirmed, was born at about 6.35pm on Friday.
It will not be named for its first hundred days in accordance with tradition.
Image: The mother Mei Xiang is seen cuddling her baby in their enclosure
Image: The mother cuddles her tiny baby after the rare birth in Washington DC
The cub, which is roughly the size of a stick of butter, could be heard squealing in the livestream.
Its mother, named Mei Xiang, picked it up and started cradling it.
Brandie Smith, a former curator of the zoo’s giant pandas who has overseen several births there, said: “We can tell the cub is doing well from its vocalisations and the mother’s behaviour.”
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Zoo staff remain ready to intervene if something seems wrong, but Ms Smith said the mother has reared three cubs to adulthood and “knows exactly what she is doing”.
Zoo officials had a hard time accessing the livestream themselves after it started crashing due to the extra traffic.
Ms Smith said: “When we have a giant panda baby, the whole world celebrates.”
Image: The mother will not leave her baby’s side for about a week
Zoo staff are letting the mother and baby share some private time for now.
Mei Xiang will remain with her baby in a small indoor enclosure where she has built a modest nest.
She will not leave her baby’s side even to eat or drink for about a week.
The cub will remain in the den for its first few months of life.
For now it is pink and hairless; their distinctive black and white fur comes later.
Meanwhile, its father Tian Tian seems blissfully oblivious – rolling around his outdoor enclosure on Saturday morning.
Giant pandas are almost entirely solitary, and in the wild it would be normal for Tian Tian to never meet his offspring.
Source : Sky News