WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - Mei Xiang's panda cub made its debut on the Smithsonian National Zoo's livestream Thursday, adoring people across the world.
The zoo said Mei Xiang "tested" her cub's reaction to being placed on the floor before leaving for a brief moment to get a drink of water.
That's when Panda Cam viewers were able to get a look at the growing cub.
"Upon her return, Mei Xiang immediately picked up her cub and cradled it," the zoo said in a blog post.
“We can tell the cub is doing well from its vocalizations and the mother’s behavior,” said Deputy Director Brandie Smith, a former curator of the zoo’s giant pandas, who has overseen multiple births here. Zoo staff remain ready to intervene if something seems wrong, but Smith said Mei Xiang, who has reared three cubs to adulthood, “knows exactly what she is doing.”
Zoo officials said now that Mei Xiang has started leaving her den to drink, it's a positive sign that the cub can stay warm on its own for short periods.