Mei Xiang, the National Zoo's female giant panda, is very pregnant and her cub could come as soon as this weekend (Haven Orecchio-Egresitz)
·2 min read
Giant panda Bei Bei eats bamboo at the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park before heading back to China, Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Michael A. McCoy)
Bei Bei ate bamboo before heading to China last year.
  • Mei Xiang, a Great Panda at The National Zoo, is pregnant and her baby could come as soon as this weekend.

  • The cub will be the first at the zoo since the beloved Bei Bei was born in 2015. 

  • There is a substantial possibility that Mei Xiang could reabsorb or miscarry a fetus, but scientists are hopeful.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

It's time for a baby shower. 

Veterinarians at the Smithsonian's National Zoo learned Friday that Mei Xiang, the zoo's female giant panda, is pregnant.

Her cub, which would be the third she gave birth to, could be born as soon as this weekend, according to the Smithsonian.

"In the middle of a pandemic, this is a joyful moment we can all get excited about," Don Neiffer, chief veterinarian at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, who conducted the ultrasound, said in a statement. "We are optimistic that very shortly she may give birth to a healthy cub or cubs."

There is a substantial possibility that Mei Xiang could reabsorb the fetus or miscarry, but scientists are hopeful.

"We're fortunate that Mei Xiang participated in the ultrasound allowing us to get sharp images and video," Neiffer said. "We're watching her closely and welcome everyone to watch with us on the panda cams."   

Mei Xiang pregnant National Zoo
Veterinarians and the giant panda team have been conducting regular ultrasounds on Mei Xiang since July to track changes in her reproductive tract.

Reproductive scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and Zoo veterinarians performed an artificial insemination on Mei Xiang, 22, in March using frozen semen collected from Tian Tian, a male giant panda living in the zoo, located in Washington, DC.

Mei Xiang is spending her days sleeping more, eating less and nest-building, which are signs of pregnancy.

Mei Xiang already has three children: Tai Shan, Bao Bao, and Bei Bei, the zoo said.

All three of the pandas have since moved to China. 


Bei Bei, who was born in 2015, was the last giant panda cub to be born in the zoo. When he made the journey east last year, he did so in a private plane painted for the occasion and filled with 66 pounds of bamboo.

Those who want to follow along with Mei Xiang as she awaits her newest bundle of joy can watch the zoos panda cams here.

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