Image: Panda Cam
zooatlanta.org
The 19 day-old panda cub is being kept from the public until she turns 100 days old. Until then, panda fans have been keeping up with the cub on the zoo's online panda cam.
updated 9/25/2006 5:52:30 PM ET 2006-09-25T21:52:30

The baby panda born earlier this month at Zoo Atlanta is a girl.

In a statement posted Monday on the zoo's Web site, officials said the female cub appears to be healthy.

Zoo staff members had removed the tiny cub from its birthing den for the first time on Monday, 19 days after panda Lun Lun gave birth, and determined its gender during a 10-minute checkup.

With Lun Lun in an adjacent den, zoo veterinarian Maria Crane gently lifted the baby and began the examination. Because the newborn is so small and Lun Lun often held it close to her body, zoo officials have not known until now whether the newborn was male or female.

Crane also weighed the cub, listened to her heart and checked her pulse. She weighed nearly 1 1/2 pounds and was a little more than 12 inches long.

The 9-year-old Lun Lun gave birth Sept. 6 after a 35-hour labor. It's the fifth giant panda born at a U.S. zoo in the last six years.

The cub is being kept from the public until she turns 100 days old, when, according to tradition, there will be a naming ceremony. Until then, panda fans have been keeping up with the cub on the zoo's online panda cam.

After trying for seven years, the zoo successfully artificially inseminated Lun Lun at the end of March. The father, Yang Yang, and cub are being kept separate, which is normal in the wild.

Only three other U.S. zoos have pandas — San Diego, Memphis and the National Zoo in Washington. Both San Diego and the National Zoo have had successful panda births.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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