October 22nd, 2010
12:34 PM ET

First panda birth in U.S. this year expected soon

Giant panda Lun Lun is pregnant, and officials at the Atlanta, Georgia, zoo say they are thrilled.

Animal and veterinary teams estimate that a birth could occur in 10 days to two weeks.

It would be the first panda birth in the U.S. this year. Memphis, San Diego and Washington, D.C., zoos also have pandas, but none has produced a baby panda this year.

Thirteen-year-old Lun Lun was artificially inseminated, and the father is Zoo Atlanta's Yang Yang. Lun Lun and 13-year-old Yang Yang have already given birth to two cubs - Mei Lan, a 4-year-old female who now lives in China, and a male, Xi Lan, 2, who resides at Zoo Atlanta.

The giant panda is an endangered species, so another birth is good news for the zoo and, of course, the species.

"We're absolutely excited about the news," said Rebecca Snyder, the curator of mammals at Zoo Atlanta. "Many times, zoo handlers are not aware that a panda is pregnant until after the birth, so to know ahead of time is a special treat."'

Lun Lun is expected to give birth in the next two weeks.

Lun Lun was artificially inseminated on June 13 after the pair failed to mate naturally.

Zoo Atlanta said giant panda gestation periods have been documented to be as short as 83 days or as long as 197 days, and the average pregnancy is 135 days.

Ultrasound procedures will track the progress of the developing fetus, zoo officials said.

Fans of the panda can watch Lun Lun on the zoo's PandaCam, which runs Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.

Lun Lun and Yang Yang were born in China. They have lived with each other since they were 1 and came as a pair to Zoo Atlanta in 1999.

Lun Lun's birth name, given to her by keepers, was Hua Hua, and Yang Yang's birth name was Jiu Jiu.

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Filed under: Animals • Georgia
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. C Berger

    According to the overblown headlines, it sounds as though everyone is upset that Juan Williams was let go. Please show the other side of this story. I am thrilled that he was let go. Just wish it had been a lot sooner. Fox News is what's wrong with this country and Williams was nothing but a toadie for them. Now, it's whine, whine, whine.

    October 22, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      And this has to do with the panda because.......

      October 22, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michele

      No kidding. Sounds like someone needs to stay on subject and give up the whole williams thing. Dude lost his job. Perhaps he needs to keep his mouth shut.
      Excited about the panda though. Congrats to the zoo and the new panda parents.

      October 22, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Walter

      I wonder if tiger is to blame !

      October 22, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Lun Lun is pregnant! That's another side of the story, for you, personally. 🙂

      October 22, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mario

      Juan Williams was fired from NPR... Got it? and I agree, Atlanta should be happy (sarcasm)

      October 22, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alec

      I don't understand the relevance. Are you implying Juan Williams impregnated Lun Lun?

      October 22, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Brian Fantana

    Get out here panda jerk. You are making me look bad.

    October 22, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      Ron Burgandy is on the story!

      October 22, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Diana

    Aw how sweet!! So happy for the mommy to be. I hope she successfully gives birth to healthy cubs without any complications! 🙂

    October 22, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Don

    They should name the baby Herp Derp.

    Ah, I jest. Whats not to love about baby pandas?

    October 22, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. joy

    no don wuan impregnated lun lun

    October 22, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Gilbert

    Lun Lun is pregnent and Yang Yang will be a proud daddy again. So how does Juan Williams fit in? He still has a job. He could maybe come to CNN too.

    October 22, 2010 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. kimski

    Congrats to Atlanta zoo enjoy your soon to be healthy happy baby. Yay!!

    October 23, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. angel

    HOW TO PRINT??????

    December 8, 2010 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • angel

      sry, just askin'

      December 8, 2010 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |