Panda gives birth at San Diego Zoo

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Giant panda at the San Diego Zoo in 2006

Bai Yun, a Giant Panda, has given birth Friday at the San Diego Zoo, after two and a half hours in labor. After birth, the cub was immediately taken into the arms of its mother.

Bai Yun has had three other cubs, Hua Mei, 1999, Mei Sheng, 2003, and Su Lin, 2005.

The newborn cub's gender is not yet known - zookeepers want to avoid going close to the cub for a few days, and are watching on a closed-circuit camera.

While Bai Yun has been relatively fertile in captivity, other animals have had difficulty mating. Since these pandas possess extremely low hormonal desires for sex, scientists in China have recently developed a method involving "panda porn" to induce the animals into mating.

Bai Yun, however, seems to be getting along just fine, producing her previous two cubs with a male panda named Gao Gao.

Dr. Ron Swaisgood, who helped deliver the newest cub, has said that “Gao Gao is a very proficient mater.”