Mei Xiang

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Mei Xiang
Mei Xiang at Smithsonian's National Zoo.jpg
Mei Xiang at the Smithsonian National Zoo in August 2021.
Species Giant panda ( Ailuropoda melanoleuca )
SexFemale
Born美香
(1998-07-22) July 22, 1998 (age 23)
China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda
Owner Government of China
Residence National Zoo in Washington D.C.
Parent(s)Xue Xue and Lin Nan
Offspring7, including Tai Shan, Bao Bao, Bei Bei, and Xiao Qi Ji
Weight230 lb (104 kg)
Named afterBeautiful fragrance

Mei Xiang (Chinese 美香 Měi Xiāng [mèiɕjɑ́ŋ] "beautiful fragrance") is a female giant panda who lives at the National Zoo in Washington D.C.

Contents

Mei Xiang has given birth to seven cubs, all at the National Zoo and fathered by Tian Tian. Four of her cubs have survived to adulthood. Mei Xiang's most recent cub is a male, named Xiao Qi Ji, born on August 21, 2020.

Background

Mei Xiang was born on July 22, 1998, at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong, Sichuan Province; she weighs about 230 pounds. Her mother was Xue Xue and her father was Lin Nan; both parents were wild pandas. She and Tian Tian, a male, are the National Zoo's second pair of giant pandas. [1]

Giant pandas are thought to be solitary creatures, except for mating season and mothers with young cubs. In keeping with the habits of wild pandas, Mei is generally alone, although Mei and Tian are occasionally together outside of breeding season. Tian and Mei are trained to participate in a full medical examination, including a blood draw, without anesthesia.

Motherhood

Mei Xiang outside in the snow in February 2010 at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington D.C. 1002AB03-MeiXiang.jpg
Mei Xiang outside in the snow in February 2010 at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington D.C.
Mei Xiang munching on bamboo in November 2017 at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington D.C. Giant Female Panda Mei Xiang Munching Bamboo -- The National Zoo NW Washington (DC) November 2017.jpg
Mei Xiang munching on bamboo in November 2017 at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington D.C.

Mei Xiang has given birth to seven cubs. Tai Shan, a male, was born July 9, 2005. He was the first panda cub to be born at the zoo and live for more than a few days. He lived at the zoo until February 4, 2010, when he moved to China, as per an agreement between the United States and China.

Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated twice in April 2012 with Tian Tian's sperm. Zoo officials estimated her chances of pregnancy at 10% after she had previously had five false pregnancies, in which she acted pregnant but was not. [2] Another cub was born on the night of September 16, 2012, and was a surprise to zookeepers. [3] As of September 17, zoo officials did not know the sex of the cub. The cub, whom officials believed to have been a female, was found deceased on September 23, 2012 after Mei Xiang expressed distressed, honking-like sounds. Initial findings from the necropsy ruled out the possibility that it could have been crushed by Mei Xiang. However, it showed fluid in the giant panda cub's abdomen (which is usually abnormal), and some discoloration of some of the liver tissue. The liver was also hard in places. The cub's death was determined to be the result of insufficient oxygen to the liver. This was because the lungs were not fully developed, and consequently the lungs were unable to pick up oxygen for the red blood cells to deliver to the liver. [4] [5]

On March 30, 2013, veterinarians at the National Zoo artificially inseminated Mei Xiang after natural breeding failed to occur. [6] At approximately 5:30 p.m. local time on August 23, 2013, it was announced that Mei Xiang had given birth to her third cub. [7] Mei Xiang gave birth again the following night, Saturday, August 24, 2013 to a stillborn cub, a female. [8] The surviving cub was later revealed to also be female. She was later named Bao Bao ("treasure", colloquially meaning "baby") when she turned 100 days old. She lived at the zoo until February 21, 2017, when she moved to China.

In August 2015, veterinarians found what was believed to be a giant panda fetus on an obstetric ultrasound. She had been displaying behaviors consistent with a pregnancy or pseudopregnancy: spending more time in her den, sleeping more, cradling objects, and licking her body. [9] She went on to give birth to two live male giant panda cubs, both fathered by Tian Tian. [10] She gave birth to the first live cub at 5:35pm on August 22, 2015, and delivered the second, larger cub later that night at 10:07 PM [11] On August 26, 2015, the National Zoo announced that the smaller of the two cubs had died. The surviving cub, who (like Bao Bao) was a high-profile birth for the zoo. On September 25, 2015, the cub was officially named Bei Bei, which means "precious, treasure." The name was chosen by First Ladies Michelle Obama of the United States and Peng Liyuang of China. He lived at the zoo until November 19, 2019, when he moved to China.


In March 2020 shortly after the National Zoo closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated using only frozen sperm to avoid too much close contact. [12] In August 2020, the National Zoo announced that Mei Xiang was pregnant. A few days after announcing that they had detected fetal tissue, the zoo tweeted a short video of an ultrasound showing a panda fetus. On August 21, Mei Xiang gave birth to a live male cub who was later named Xiao Qi Ji (English: Little Miracle), making her the oldest panda in the United States to give birth, at 22 years old. [13] [14] [15] This meant the first success for this type of procedure. [12]

Related Research Articles

Giant panda Species of bear

The giant panda, also known as the panda bear, is a bear species endemic to China. It is characterised by its bold black-and-white coat and rotund body. The name "giant panda" is sometimes used to distinguish it from the red panda, a neighboring musteloid. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the giant panda is a folivore, with bamboo shoots and leaves making up more than 99% of its diet. Giant pandas in the wild occasionally eat other grasses, wild tubers, or even meat in the form of birds, rodents, or carrion. In captivity, they may receive honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges, or bananas along with specially prepared food.

National Zoological Park (United States) Zoo in Washington, D.C., and Front Royal, Virginia

The National Zoological Park, commonly known as the National Zoo, is one of the oldest zoos in the United States. It is part of the Smithsonian Institution and does not charge admission. Founded in 1889, its mission is to "provide engaging experiences with animals and create and share knowledge to save wildlife and habitats".

Tai Shan (giant panda)

Tai Shan is a giant panda born at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. on July 9, 2005. He is the first panda cub born at the National Zoo to survive for more than a few days. He is the oldest brother of Bao Bao, Bei Bei and Xiao Qi Ji.

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Chapultepec Zoo is a zoo located in Chapultepec Park; it is one of four zoos near Mexico City, and the best known Mexican zoo. It was founded July 6, 1923 by Mexican biologist Alfonso Luis Herrera using donations from private citizens and governmental funds from the Ministry of Agriculture and Development, and also with funds from the Society of Biological Studies.

Hua Mei

Hua Mei is a female giant panda. She is the first giant panda cub to survive to adulthood in the United States. She was born to Bai Yun (mother) and Shi Shi (father) at the San Diego Zoo. Millions of people around the world watched Hua Mei grow up via the zoo's Panda Cam.

Su Lin (giant panda, born 2005)

Su Lin is a female giant panda born at the San Diego Zoo on August 2, 2005. Her name — one of five options in an online poll — means "a little bit of something very cute" in Chinese.

Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing Pandas given to the US by China after Nixons 1972 visit

Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing were two giant pandas given to the United States as gifts by the government of China following President Richard Nixon's visit in 1972. As a gift, the U.S. government sent China a pair of musk oxen.

Tian Tian (male giant panda) Male giant panda

Tian Tian is a 275-pound male giant panda at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. The panda was born on August 27, 1997, at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda at the Wolong National Nature Reserve in Sichuan Province, to Yong Ba (mother) and Pan Pan (father). Tian Tian is the half-brother of Bai Yun, formerly at the San Diego Zoo.

Lun Lun

Lun Lun is a female giant panda at Zoo Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia. The panda, now 242 pounds (110 kg), was born at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China on August 25, 1997. Her original name, Hua Hua, was changed to Lun Lun by her sponsor, the Taiwanese rock star Su Huilun.

Bai Yun

Bai Yun was the first female giant panda who was born at the Wolong Giant Panda Research Center in China. From September 1996 she lived at the San Diego Zoo for more than 20 years, until being returned to China in May 2019. Bai Yun gave birth to her sixth cub in 2012 since arriving at the San Diego Zoo, considered the most surviving pandas born at a breeding facility outside of native China. Bai Yun returned to China with her last-born as the 23-year conservation loan of the pandas came to an end between China and San Diego Zoo Global.

Xi Lan is a male giant panda cub currently residing in Chengdu, China at the research Base. He is the son and second offspring of Lun Lun and Yang Yang. He is the brother of Mei Lan, who was born at Zoo Atlanta in 2006; Po, born at Zoo Atlanta on November 3, 2010; twins Mei Lun and Mei Huan, born at Zoo Atlanta on July 15, 2013; and twins Ya Lun and Xi Lun, born at Zoo Atlanta on September 3, 2016.

Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan

Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan are two giant pandas that were sent by the People's Republic of China to Taiwan in 2008 as part of an exchange program. The exchange idea was first proposed in 2005, but the previous administration in Taiwan had refused to accept the pandas. After elections that resulted in a change of presidents in 2008, the Taiwanese government accepted the pandas, and they arrived on December 23, 2008. The two names were selected by a vote in the PRC and their combination, Tuan Yuan, means "reunion" in Chinese. The pandas are housed at Taipei Zoo and have been exhibited to the public since the 2009 Chinese New Year.

Bao Bao Female giant panda (born 2013)

Bao Bao is a female giant panda cub who was born at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. She lived at the Zoo for four years until February 2017. She is currently located at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Sichuan Province. She is the sister of Tai Shan, Bei Bei and Xiao Qi Ji.

JoGayle Howard American zoologist

JoGayle Dillon Howard (1951–2011) was an American zoologist and theriogenologist specializing in the captive breeding of endangered species such as pandas, clouded leopards, and black-footed ferrets.

Tian Tian (female giant panda) Female giant panda

Tian Tian is a female panda born on 24 August 2003 at the Beijing Zoo from mother Niu Niu and father Ying Ying, and currently resident at Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland. She arrived in Edinburgh in December 2011 together with a male panda named Yáng Guāng. Currently they are the only two pandas in the United Kingdom. They are on a 10-year loan from the Bifengxia Breeding Centre in China at a cost of £640,000 per year.

As of 2019, there are 26 zoos in 20 countries outside of mainland China that have giant pandas. These zoos have contracts with China to house these pandas for a few years. An exception are the four pandas held at Taipei Zoo, which are owned by the Taiwanese government. Giant pandas are on the IUCN Red List so part of the reason these contracts exist between China and international zoos is to try to help the species reproduce before they are brought back to their native land. For this reason, pandas are treated very well.

Bei Bei Giant panda at the US National Zoo

Bei Bei is a male giant panda cub who was born and lived at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., in the United States. He was part of US-China relations panda diplomacy, and was sent to the People's Republic of China on November 19, 2019 at the age of 4. He is currently at the Ya’an Bifengxia Base of the Giant Panda Conservation and Research Center in southwest Sichuan province. He is the brother of Tai Shan, Bao Bao, and Xiao Qi Ji.

Er Shun is a female giant panda, born at the Chongqing Zoo.

Xiao Qi Ji Panda cub born at National Zoo, Washington, D.C.

Xiao Qi Ji is a male giant panda cub who was born at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. on 21 August 2020. The fourth surviving cub of Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, Xiao Qi Ji is a result of an artificial insemination of Mei Xiang on March 22, 2020. Xiao Qi Ji is the youngest brother of Tai Shan, Bao Bao and Bei Bei.

References

  1. "Meet Mei Xiang and Tian Tian". National Zoo. Archived from the original on 3 June 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  2. DiMargo, Carissa (17 September 2012). "Cub is born to National Zoo's giant panda". NBC News . New York City.
  3. "National Zoo Panda Cub Dies". NBC New York.
  4. "Female panda cub died of insufficient oxygen to liver". USA TODAY. October 11, 2012.
  5. Ruane, Michael E. (17 September 2012). "National Zoo welcomes baby panda". The Washington Post . Washington, D.C.
  6. Sutton, Jane (30 March 2013). "Giant panda artificially inseminated at U.S. National Zoo". Reuters. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
  7. "Breaking: MEI XIANG IS IN LABOR". Smithsonian . 23 August 2013. Archived from the original on 23 August 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
  8. Nuckols, Ben (25 August 2013). "National Zoo panda cub healthy, vibrant". USA Today.
  9. "Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute". Facebook.
  10. "National Zoo's surviving panda cub is a boy – and he is growing up quickly". The Guardian.
  11. "2015 Panda Updates August 23". Archived from the original on 2015-08-26. Retrieved 2015-08-29.
  12. 1 2 Khalil, Ashraf (2020-08-23). "'The whole world celebrates' birth of panda cub". News & Observer via Associated Press.
  13. "Baby Panda Seen "Kicking and Swimming" on Mei Xiang's Ultrasound, National Zoo Says". NBC4 Washington. Retrieved 2020-08-18.
  14. "Giant Panda Cub Born at Smithsonian's National Zoo". Smithsonian's National Zoo. 2020-08-21. Retrieved 2020-08-22.
  15. "National Zoo welcomes panda cub, an unexpected arrival from aging Mei Xiang". Washington Post. Associated Press. 2020-08-21. Retrieved 2020-08-22.