Mei Xiang Settling Back Into Routine After Death of Cub

Mei Xiang's cub died Sept. 23

Giant Panda Mei Xiang in Her Yard
Mehgan Murphy, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

More than a week after the heartbreaking loss of Mei Xiang's panda cub, keepers at the National Zoo say Mei is settling back into her routine.

She ventured outside for the first time Saturday, and then again briefly on Monday and Tuesday mornings.

The zoo reports:

She also made a brief appearance for the keeper talk inside the David M. Rubenstein Panda Habitat on Monday afternoon, though she still chooses to spend most of her afternoons in her den. Her appetite is gradually returning; she has been eating noticeably more bamboo and produce.

The panda habitat partially reopened over the weekend, with visitors now able to see both pandas in their yards, and Tian Tian indoors.

The zoo said that since Mei Xiang could still be sensitive to noise, her indoor enclosure is still off-limits to visitors.

Mei's cub was born unexpectedly on the night of Sunday, Sept. 16, delighting panda fans around the region. But on the morning of the following Sunday, keepers were alerted to trouble when Mei made several distress calls indicating something was wrong.

Zoo Director Dennis Kelly called the cub's death "extremely devastating" in a conference later that day. Preliminary necropsy results showed that the cub, believed to be female, had fluid in her abdomen and some discoloration in her liver.

The zoo said Tuesday that final necropsy results are still pending.

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