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更新时间:2015-8-24 10:05:08 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Giant Panda Gives Birth at National Zoo in Washington

Panda lovers, rejoice. Mei Xiang, the female giant panda at the National Zoo in Washington, gave birth to healthy twin cubs on Saturday afternoon, just three days after the zoo’s staff discovered that she was pregnant. The birth was broadcast live online on the zoo’s Panda Cam and announced on its official Twitter account.

喜欢熊猫的人,应该高兴了。华盛顿国家动物园的雌性大熊猫“美香”在周六产下一对健康幼崽。直到三天前,动物园工作人员才发现它怀孕了。动物园在自己的平台Panda Cam上在线直播了分娩过程,并在官方Twitter账号上宣布了这则消息。

The first birth, at 5:34 p.m., was broadcast live online on the zoo’s Panda Cam and announced on its official Twitter account. The second birth, at 10:07 p.m., was unexpected and was announced on Twitter.


Mei Xiang is a minor celebrity in Washington, and her breeding is closely watched by panda fans around the world. On Saturday, people could watch live online as she gave birth, which happened 30 minutes after her water broke as she lay on her back in a narrow cage.


“It doesn’t get old for us,” Laurie Thompson, a zoo official, told reporters on Saturday. “We’re very excited to share this with you guys, our new cub.”

“那个情景我们百看不厌,”动物园工作人员劳里·汤普森(Laurie Thompson)周六对记者表示。“能和你们一起见证这只幼崽的出生,我们感到非常激动。”

Ms. Thompson, speaking before the second birth, said the mother and the first cub were “doing really, really well.” The zoo said it expected that Mei Xiang would spend the next one to two weeks in her den bonding with the cub. Veterinarians have not handled the cub yet, they said, and do not expect to examine the animal for several weeks. Its sex will be determined at that time.


The zoo announced around 2:30 p.m. that it believed Mei Xiang was in labor and later posted on Twitter that a cub had been born at 5:34. The cub is Mei Xiang’s fourth since 2005.


Zookeepers were not sure that she was pregnant until they discovered a four-centimeter-long fetus during an ultrasound procedure Wednesday morning. At the time, the zoo predicted that the cub would be born between Aug. 28 and mid-September but also warned that there was “a substantial possibility” that Mei Xiang could “resorb or miscarry” the fetus. It is not known why some mammals resorb fetuses, the zoo said.


But those warnings appeared to be for naught on Saturday. The zoo said it would release pictures and video of the cub soon.


Giant panda cubs look very different from adult pandas. They are tiny, blind and toothless, and they more closely resemble a pale rodent than a black and white bear.


Giant pandas mate infrequently, and the birth of a healthy cub is uncommon. Only two of Mei Xiang’s three previous cubs survived longer than a few days: Tai Shan, who born in 2005, and Bao Bao, who was born in 2013. Her third surviving cub died in 2012 a few days after its birth.


The National Zoo said on Wednesday that it did not know the identity of the cub’s father. Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated on April 26 and 27 with semen from both Hui Hui, a giant panda who lives at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in China’s Sichuan Province, and Tian Tian, a giant panda at the National Zoo.


Hui Hui’s semen was collected in China, frozen and flown to Washington while zookeepers used what they called “high-quality fresh semen” collected from Tian Tian.


“A cub by Mei Xiang and Hui Hui would be very genetically valuable, helping to preserve the genetic diversity of the panda population in human care,” the zoo said in a statement Wednesday.