It's a boy! National Zoo's surviving newborn panda is male

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National Zoo's Panda Cub 'Active and Nursing Appropriately'


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The National Zoo's panda parents, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, have another son.

The zoo announced Friday morning that the surviving panda cub is male and the son of the zoo's male panda Tian Tian. Mei Xiang gave birth to the fraternal twins Saturday, but the smaller cub - also a male fathered by Tian Tian - died Wednesday. The most likely cause of death was complications from food getting into its respiratory system resulting in the development of pneumonia, officials said.

"Once an animal becomes ill, things become more difficult," Chief Veterinarian Don Neiffer said. "It's hard to come back."

Pink, hairless and blind, newborn cubs weigh three to five ounces at birth. Mei Xiang weighs more than 700 times as much.

See photos of the panda cubs when they were born at the Smithsonian:

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Baby Pandas born at Smithsonian
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It's a boy! National Zoo's surviving newborn panda is male

Mei Xiang in her den with her cub on Sept. 21, 2015. (Photo via Smithsonian's National Zoo)

In this photo provided by the Smithsonian's National Zoo, one of the giant panda cubs is examined by veterinarians after being born at Smithsonian's National Zoo on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, in Washington. The National Zoo in Washington says its adult female panda has had twins. (Becky Malinsky/Smithsonian's National Zoo via AP) 
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 23: In this handout provided by the Smithsonian's National Zoo, the second of two newborn Giant Pandas born August 22 is cared for by members of the panda team at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute August 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. The team is swapping each cub with the mother Mei Xiang, allowing each to nurse, while the other is bottle-fed and kept warm in an incubator. (Photo by Smithsonian's National Zoo via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 23: In this handout provided by the Smithsonian's National Zoo, the second of two newborn Giant Pandas born August 22 is cared for by members of the panda team at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute August 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. The team is swapping each cub with the mother Mei Xiang, allowing each to nurse, while the other is bottle-fed and kept warm in an incubator. (Photo by Smithsonian's National Zoo via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 23: In this handout provided by the Smithsonian's National Zoo, the second of two newborn Giant Pandas born August 22 is cared for by members of the panda team at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute August 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. The team is swapping each cub with the mother Mei Xiang, allowing each to nurse, while the other is bottle-fed and kept warm in an incubator. (Photo by Smithsonian's National Zoo via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 24: In this handout provided by the Smithsonian's National Zoo, one of two newborn Giant Pandas born August 22 is cared for by a member of the panda team at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute August 24, 2015 in Washington, DC. The team is swapping each cub with the mother Mei Xiang, allowing each to nurse, while the other is bottle-fed and kept warm in an incubator. (Photo by Smithsonian's National Zoo via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 23: In this handout provided by the Smithsonian's National Zoo, the second of two newborn Giant Pandas born August 22 is cared for by members of the panda team at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute August 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. The team is swapping each cub with the mother Mei Xiang, allowing each to nurse, while the other is bottle-fed and kept warm in an incubator. (Photo by Smithsonian's National Zoo via Getty Images)
In this handout photo provided by the Smithsonian’s National Zoo shows keeper Stacey Tabellario bottle feeding the smaller of the two giant panda cubs at the zoo in Washington. The zoo said the smaller Giant Panda cub died Wednesday after three and a half days. (Shellie Pick/Smithsonian’s National Zoo via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

Mei Xiang left her den Saturday, Sept. 5, around 3:10 p.m. to eat and drink. She ate more bamboo than she has in previous excursions since giving birth. Keepers expect Mei Xiang to gradually spend more time away from the den eating and drinking as the cub grows. While Mei Xiang was eating, veterinarians and keepers took the opportunity to give the cub another quick checkup. He weighed 409.6 grams, which was 119 grams more than he weighed on Sept. 2. His 297 percent weight gain is normal for a cub his age. Cubs at this stage usually gain between 40 and 50 grams per day. Veterinarians also listened to his heart and lungs, which all sounded normal. His eyes are still closed, which is normal. Cubs’ eyes generally open when they are 6 to 8 weeks old. He also had a full belly at the time of the exam and appeared to be healthy. (Photo via Smithsonian's National Zoo)

Mei Xiang and her cub on Sept. 3. (Photo via Smithsonian's National Zoo)

Mei Xiang sleeping in her den with her cub Sept. 18, 2015. (Photo via Smithsonian's National Zoo)

Mei Xiang left the den around 9 a.m., about 30 minutes after keepers replenished food in her enclosure on Sept. 12. She spent 15 minutes away from the cub, during which time he could be seen on the panda cam scooting around in circles. Keepers noted that the shape of his back saddle, the black marking on a panda’s back, resembles Tian Tian’s, his father. (Photo via Smithsonian's National Zoo)

Keepers weighed the giant panda cub Sept. 14, when Mei Xiang left her den. He weighed 881.5 grams or 1.9 pounds. (Photo via Erika Bauer/Smithsonian's National Zoo)

At a veterinary exam Sept. 17, the cub measured 31 centimeters from his head to the tip of his tail. From his head to the base of his tail he measured 27 centimeters. His right front leg was 10 centimeters long and his right hind leg was 9 centimeters long. Veterinarians reported that he has an excellent range of motion and is able to push up onto his front legs. Keepers have seen him scooting around the den using his front legs, but he is not walking yet. (Photo via Amy Enchelmeyer/Smithosonian's National Zoo)

At a veterinary exam Sept. 17, the cub measured 31 centimeters from his head to the tip of his tail. From his head to the base of his tail he measured 27 centimeters. His right front leg was 10 centimeters long and his right hind leg was 9 centimeters long. Veterinarians reported that he has an excellent range of motion and is able to push up onto his front legs. Keepers have seen him scooting around the den using his front legs, but he is not walking yet. (Photo via Amy Enchelmeyer/Smithsonian's National Zoo)

Zoo volunteer and "big panda fan" Mara Strock wipes her eyes at right while listening to the announcement of the death of one of the new panda cubs during a news conference at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Visitors to the Smithsonian's National Zoo listen during an announcement about the death of one of the new panda cubs during a news conference at the Zoo in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
The Smithsonian National Zoo's Giant Panda Mei Xiang, mother of panda youngster Bao Bao who was born Aug. 23, 2013, sleeps in the indoor habitat at the zoo in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015. The zoo says that the hormone levels of its adult female panda were rising, a sign that she might be pregnant. Mei Xiang, one of the two adult giant pandas which arrived here from China on Dec. 6, 2000, has started to show a secondary rise in her urinary progesterone levels since July 20 after she was artificially inseminated on April 26 and 27, the zoo said in a statement. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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The surviving cub appears to be healthy and is gaining weight, Associate Director for Animal Care Sciences Brandie Smith said. He even has a fat belly at 6 days old.

SEE ALSO: Red panda cubs visit the doctor for an adorable checkup

Tian Tian is the father of Mei Xiang's other cubs, daughter Bao Bao and son Tai Shan. During this year's panda breeding, Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated with semen from Tian Tian and a panda in China that was deemed a good genetic match.

The National Zoo is one of only four zoos nationwide to have pandas, which are on loan from China. But the Washington pandas have a history that makes them closely watched.

The zoo's first pair of pandas, Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, were a gift from China following President Richard Nixon's historic 1972 visit to the country. The pair had five cubs while living at the zoo but none survived.

The zoo's current adult pandas, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian arrived in 2000. The pandas belong to China as do any cubs they have. Tai Shan, 10, returned to China in 2010. Bao Bao, who turned 2 on Sunday, still lives at the National Zoo.

UPDATE:



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