Baby panda born at Atlanta Zoo - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Baby panda born at Atlanta Zoo

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Photo: WXIA-TV (Lun Lun) Photo: WXIA-TV (Lun Lun)

ATLANTA (WRCB) - Zoo Atlanta's giant panda has given birth to her third cub.

Lun Lun had been on round-the-clock birth watch since Oct. 22 when an ultrasound confirmed the pregnancy. The cub is the only giant panda born at a U.S. zoo this year.

Zoo officials say the cub was born at 5:39 a.m. on Wednesday in a specially prepared birthing den.

Lun Lun was inseminated with sperm from her partner, Yang Yang, in June after the two failed to mate. The couple's previous cubs were Mei Lan, born in 2006, and Xi Lan, born in 2008.

Zoo spokesperson Keisha Hines said Lun Lun appears to be providing appropriate care for her cub, which is roughly the size of a cell phone. The Animal Management and Veterinary Teams will continue round-the-clock monitoring of mother and cub, and a preliminary veterinary checkup will be performed as soon as staff is able to remove the cub without disrupting maternal care.

"We are extremely excited about welcoming Lun Lun's and Yang Yang's third cub, and proud of the success of Zoo Atlanta's giant panda program," said Dwight Lawson, PhD, Deputy Director. "This is a joy we share with the City of Atlanta, our colleagues in China, and our counterparts at our fellow zoological organizations housing giant pandas in the U.S."

Zoo Atlanta Members and guests can expect to meet the cub in spring 2011, according to Atlanta NBC affiliate WXIA-TV. The cub's father, 13-year-old Yang Yang, and older brother, Xi Lan, remain on exhibit and will not be introduced to their new family member. This separation is normal for giant pandas, which are solitary in the wild.

The newborn is the third offspring for the Zoo's famous panda pair.

Zoo Atlanta is one of only four U.S. zoos with the endangered animals. The others are in San Diego, Memphis and Washington, D.C.

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