America’s newest surviving giant panda, Xiao Liwu, (pronounced zhai lee-woo, which means little gift), made his public debut Thursday at the San Diego Zoo.*
Born on July 29, Xiao Liuw is the sixth cub delivered by Bai Yun, the zoo's 21-year-old, 223-pound adult female panda, and the fifth one with mate Gao Gao, making her thre “most prolific breeder in captivity outside of China. Her first cub resulted from artificial insemination.
In addition, officials report that Bai Yun is “one of only two captive pandas in the world to give birth at the age of 20.”
The cub, roughly the size of a stick of butter when first born, now weighs in at 16 pounds, though he has yet to eat solid food. In the meantime, he will nurse from his mother until he is 18-months, or “until she gets so grouchy she kicks him out," Ferguson said.
Conservation experts estimate there are fewer than 1,600 giant pandas left in the wild, all in the mountain forests of central China, mainly in Sichuan province, but also in the Shaanxi and Gansu
For related articles see http://www.examiner.com/article/giant-panda-cub-born-at-atlanta-zoo and http://www.examiner.com/article/the-perfect-panda-mom
*Sadly, another cub born to Mei Xiang in September at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC died within a few days of its birth.