The National Zoo's 14-year-old giant panda, Mei Xiang, has given birth seven years after the zoo's only other cub was born in 2005.
The new cub was born Sunday at 10:46 p.m., and zoo curator Becky Malinsky, who was watching the 24-hour-a-day panda camera feed, heard the newborn's first squeal. It was described as high-pitched and loud.
"I got a call ... a little after 10:45" from a senior curator saying "the behavior watcher just saw a birth," Don Moore, associate director for animal care sciences, said in an interview. "I said, 'Yeah, yeah, it's not April Fool's yet, so I'm going back to bed. ' She said, 'No, no, really. There's been a panda. Congratulations.' "
On Monday, Zoo Director Dennis Kelly, who lives across the street from the zoo, extended congratulations to D.C. residents, as the birth has spawned a wave of "pandamania" across the District.