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Panda Mom Makes Baby Steps

It sounds like we’re a step closer to finding out the sex of the baby panda.
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It’s Friday, so naturally it’s time to check in on the pandas and it sounds like we’re a step closer to finding out the sex of the baby.

Bai Yun is spending more time outside of the den these days.

“These are short departures under 10 minutes each. During her den escapes she takes a little time to eat her bamboo and get a drink of water. This is important for her to keep up her strength,” San Diego Zoo spokesperson Yadira Galindo said.

Bai Yun gave birth to the cub last week. It's her fifth cub and only the 14th panda in the United States.

The gender of the baby is not known. Researchers won't be able to get their hands on the pink, tiny and hairless cub until several weeks from now when Bai Yun feels comfortable enough to start regularly leaving the birthing den.

As long as the mother appears to be caring for the new cub, as she has her previous cubs, zoo staff will not intervene.

Mother and cub are likely to remain in the birthing den, off and on, for the next four months. You can watch them through the zoo's panda cam online.

San Diego was caught up in panda-mania in 1999 when Hua Mei, Bai Yun’s first club, was the first giant panda cub to be conceived by artificial insemination and the first American-born panda cub to survive to adulthood. She is now in a breeding program in China along with her brother, Mei Sheng, who was born in San Diego in 2003 through natural breeding.

Two of Bai Yun's other offspring, Su Lin and Zhen Zhen, born in 2005 and 2007 respectively, remain at the San Diego Zoo.

Following Chinese tradition, the cub will not be named until its 100 days old.