JACKI LYDEN, HOST:
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.
We have a cub. The National Zoo made that announcement in all caps on Twitter at 5:32 p.m. last night. The zoo's giant panda, Mei Xiang, gave birth to her third cub Friday. Now there's a state of, wait for it, pandamonium here in Washington. Thousands of eyes were glued to the zoo's panda cam as the tiny creature came into the world.
(SOUNDBITE OF BABY PANDA)
LYDEN: After those tiny cries, mom quickly scooped up and cradled her offspring. Now, before you get the image of an adorable speckled teddy bear in your mind, you should know that panda babies are kind of weird-looking creatures. Don't take that the wrong way, Mei Xiang. There seems to be a consensus, though, on how to describe them, at least here.
(SOUNDBITE OF VARIOUS NEWS REPORTS)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #1: When first born, pandas are pink and the size of a stick of butter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #2: Just about the size of a stick of butter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #3: The size of a stick of butter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #4: The size of a stick of butter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #5: I can remember when he was the size of a butter stick. We came down here...
LYDEN: This is such an exciting moment because zookeepers weren't even aware that Mei Xiang was pregnant until earlier this month. Last September, her second cub died from a liver problem just six days after its birth. Mei Xiang is expected to stay in her den with her new cub for the next two weeks, and the panda cams will be rolling. Let the cub watch begin.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.