HUZZAH! The National Zoo's 7 year-old panda, Mei Xiang, has given birth "a baby the size of a stick of butter"!!! (Panda babies are pale and pinkish; imagine a larger hamster... the black and white markings aren't evident till later...for examples, see this newborn photo of Mei Sheng from San Diego, and ones where he is older, 1 and 2.) DCist says the panda exhibit will be closed for three months while the zoo keepers keep on eye on the new mom and baby. And all signs point to Mei Xiang being a good panda mom - she's been tending to the baby. No word on what Tian Tian, the male panda, has been doing, as his job was done once Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated, but we imagine he's been sleeping and eating as usual.
The National Zoo has more about the newest addition to their wonderful panda exhibit. Gothamist blogged (with panda cam captures!) about Mei Xiang and Tian Tian's mating two years ago - those attempts did not result in pregnancy. And we made a pilgrimage to visit the pandas at the San Diego Zoo. So, in three months time, Gothamist will be taking Amtrak down to DC to visit our friends and what will undoubtedly be the most adorable baby ever.
[Thanks to reader Lisa]