ATLANTA - Lun Lun the giant panda has been confirmed to be expecting a cub, according to the official announcement made on the Zoo Atlanta Facebook page on Thursday.
On August 16, the Zoo Atlanta Veterinary Team obtained an ultrasound image of a fetus measuring 0.78 centimeter (a third of an inch), and supporting hormone analyses and monitoring of Lun Lun’s behavior suggest that a birth could take place within three weeks. Beginning on Monday, August 22, the Animal Management and Veterinary Teams will begin 24-hour monitoring of Lun Lun as she nests in her off-exhibit den in The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Giant Panda Conservation Center.
The teams remain optimistic that the newest addition to the Zoo Atlanta giant panda program is on the way; however, there is still no certainty of an impending birth.
Lun Lun was artificially inseminated on March 28, 2016. The Veterinary Team will continue to pursue regular ultrasounds, but as ultrasound participation is voluntary for Lun Lun, there is no guarantee of additional ultrasounds before a birth takes place.
A new cub, which would be the first giant panda born in the U.S. in 2016, would be the sixth for 18-year-old Lun Lun and 18-year-old male Yang Yang. The pair’s first, second and third offspring, Mei Lan, Xi Lan and Po, now reside at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China. Their fourth and fifth, 3-year-old females Mei Lun and Mei Huan, reside at Zoo Atlanta and are the only twin giant pandas in the U.S.