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Posted at 12:50 PM ET, 04/23/2010

Zoo to begin panda pregnancy watch

By Washington Post editors

WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 03:  Giant panda bear Ta...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Is she or isn't she?

National Zoo officials announced that beginning at 4 p.m. on Friday, they will begin a 24-hour pregnancy watch of D.C.'s favorite panda mother -- Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) -- raising the hope of panda fans still mourning the departure of their beloved Tai Shan.

More than 40 Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) volunteers and animal care staff will closely monitor Mei Xiang for signs of "maternal behavior" through her interactions with her keepers and 38 cameras set up throughout the giant panda habitat.

This is no simple task. FONZ volunteers have undergone hours of training to be able to participate in the 24-hour watch. They have learned to identify and record a variety of behaviors -- such as nest building and cradling of small objects by Mei Xiang -- that might indicate a panda cub is on the way. Recently, volunteer watchers have observed Mei Xiang spending more time shredding bamboo in her den to make a nest.

The decision to begin the watch Friday afternoon came after zoo scientists determined that Mei Xiang’s hormone levels are approaching baseline, indicating that the end of her real (or pseudo) pregnancy is near. Within 24 hours of reaching baseline -- which could happen in days or weeks -- anxious panda fans will know whether a new cub has arrived.

In anticipation of increased traffic to the pandacam, the zoo will limit each view to five minutes per session. Visitors must refresh their browser to view the webcam again, and they will either return immediately to the cam or, if the site has too much traffic, be asked to try again later.


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By Washington Post editors  | April 23, 2010; 12:50 PM ET
Tags:  Biology, Giant Panda, Mei Xiang, National Zoo, Smithsonian Institution, Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Tai Shan, Webcam  
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Comments

Well, between the the failure to secure a vote in the House, the shootings in SE, and the murder of the Shaw principal, I think DC could use a little good news for a change.

C'mon Mei Xiang--we need a little bundle of joy!

Posted by: redgrifn | April 23, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Oh, gosh, here we go again. More news about those piddling pandas and whether or not one is pregnant. WHO CARES, WaPo?? I'd rather see as, a public service, an article about the status of a woman desperately seeking to conceive and not about these silly pandas...

Posted by: rpcv84 | April 23, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

stick of butter time

Posted by: MarilynManson | April 23, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh, gosh, here we go again. More news about those piddling pandas and whether or not one is pregnant. WHO CARES, WaPo?? I'd rather see as, a public service, an article about the status of a woman desperately seeking to conceive and not about these silly pandas...
Posted by: rpcv84 | April 23, 2010 1:44 PM |
*********************

I rather see your name in the obituaries dying of aids but we can't have it too many ways. So lighten up dipstick.

Posted by: Rocc00 | April 23, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

I second Rocc00's comment.

Posted by: DavidTR | April 23, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Who cares???!!! if she is pregnant, we'll just have to give it to the Chi-coms anyway.
And if it's going to be a girl panda cub, we should abort it, just like the Chinese do with the girl fetus'. You libs ought to love that!

Posted by: steveiev | April 24, 2010 7:10 AM | Report abuse

It's nice to have some lighter news for balance.

Posted by: ishgebibble | April 24, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Who cares???!!! if she is pregnant, we'll just have to give it to the Chi-coms anyway.
=========================================
Exactly.

And why doesn't WaPo ever have an article about exactly how much money taxpayers are paying to China for this panda thing?

Posted by: checkered1 | April 24, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

It's nice to have some lighter news for balance.

Posted by: ishgebibble | April 24, 2010 8:52 AM
______________________
Bank on it, next year in mid-late April WaPo will have a series of stories about a possible panda pregnancy. Our regular recurring dose of lighter news brought to you by WaPo!! And, Lori Aratani who wrote this piece of uplifting news, please next year inform us of YOUR pregnancy status as well!! Just a thought...

Posted by: rpcv84 | April 24, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Where's the LOVE people?

Posted by: bentoenail | April 25, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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