San Diego Zoo gets first look at newborn panda cub - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego Zoo gets first look at newborn panda cub

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Animal care staff got their first glimpse of the San Diego Zoo's newborn giant panda cub, and all appears well.

The cub, born Sunday, became visible for scrutiny by a webcam in the panda den around 9 p.m. Monday when its mother, Bai Yun, went out for a drink of water.

Suzanne Hall, senior research technician for the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, said what they saw was very encouraging.

"The cub was extremely vocal, registering its complaint over its mother's absence," Hall said. "To us, that indicates good vigor and a proper behavioral response to the cool air and loss of contact with Mom. The cub was wiggling all over the floor, indicating good strength and energy, and the cub had a nice, round belly, indicating that Bai Yun is providing plenty of milk."

The mother and her unnamed cub will remain off exhibit for four to five months before appearing in public.

It will be a couple weeks before the cub develops its iconic black-and-white markings. Its sex won't be determined for a couple of months, after animal care staff have a chance to examine the cub by hand.

It's Bai Yun's sixth cub.

The giant pandas are on loan to the zoo from China, where the cubs are returned after they reach the age of 3. Bai Yun's fifth off-spring, Yun Zi, turns 3 this upcoming Sunday.

Giant pandas are a critically endangered species, in part because of deforestation and the expansion of farming. The bamboo-eating member of the bear family has lost much of its forest habitat in the mountainous areas of southwest China to roads and railroads, according to the nonprofit World Wildlife Fund.

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