Add this to world records set Sunday: The panda Bai Yun gave birth to her sixth cub since arriving at the San Diego Zoo, considered the most surviving pandas born at a breeding facility outside the endangered species’ native China.
At 2:30 p.m. Sunday after an estimated three hours of labor, 20-year-old Bai Yun gave birth to a 4-ounce cub. Cub and mother appear to be doing fine, according to zoo officials.
The birth gives the zoo four pandas, more than any other zoo in the United States, officials said: Bai Yun, her mate Gao Gao, their 3-year-old son Yun Zi and now the unnamed cub, whose sex will not be known for several months.
Under a panda-loan agreement with the Chinese government, four other cubs born to Bai Yun have been sent to a panda research facility in China: Hua Mei, Mei Sheng, Su Lin and Zhen Zhen.
Five of Bai Yun’s six cubs were the product of mating with Gao Gao. Bai Yun’s first cub, Hua Mei, born in 1999, was the product of artificial insemination: Her first intended mate, Shi Shi, proved uninterested in mating. Shi Shi was replaced in 2003 by the more lusty Gao Gao.
Bai Yun, who arrived at the San Diego Zoo in 1996, may be at the end of her reproductive years, officials said.
Bai Yun and the new cub won’t be on display for several months — as they undergo a crucial “bonding period” — but they will be visible on the Panda Cam on the zoo’s website. Gao Gao and Yun Zi are kept away from Bai Yun and the cub.