Zoo Releases Latest Footage of Panda Cub

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LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC/AP) — The latest video of D.C.’s most popular celebrity is out.

The footage is of the zoo’s nearly three-week-old panda cub, of course. It shows mommy Mei Xiang cuddling and licking her baby, which is a girl, the National Zoo announced last week.

Both the yet-unnamed cub and Mei still appear to be thriving, zoo officials say.

Keepers and veterinarians expect that Mei will begin leaving her den for longer periods of time soon and, when she does, they hope to be able to give the cub a checkup.

PHOTOS: Baby Animals at the National Zoo

Zookeepers were able to perform one quick physical examination of the cub when it was two days old. Since then, Mei Xiang has become more protective and hasn’t allowed humans to get close enough to the baby to examine it.

The cub will make her public debut in about four months, zookeepers say. China owns the pandas at the National Zoo and, following Chinese tradition, the baby will be named after it is 100 days old.

Mei’s cub is expected to stay with her for a little more than two years until she is weaned and will stay at the zoo for an additional two years after that. Mei Xiang’s only other surviving cub, a male named Tai Shan, was born in 2005 and was returned to China in 2010.

Mei Xiang gave birth to a cub last year after several years of failed breeding, but the cub died after six days. Its lungs hadn’t fully developed and likely weren’t sending enough oxygen to its liver.

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