The Big Story

Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, the National Zoo Pandas

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They’re two of Washington’s most famous residents: Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, the giant pandas at the National Zoo. Loaned through an agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association, the pandas are one of the zoo’s star attractions, living in a specially constructed panda enclosure and watched by devotees on streaming Panda Cams.

Since the panda population is dwindling — the Smithsonian estimates that as few as 1,600 giant pandas survive in the mountains of China — efforts to breed Mei Xiang and Tian Tian generate heavy attention. Mei Xiang gave birth in September 2012 to a female cub that died six days later. Mei Xiang had five consecutive false pregnancies between 2007 and 2012. Mei Xiang most recently gave birth on Aug. 23, 2013.

Gallery: Photos of Mei Xiang and Tian Tian


Panda celebrates birthday with cake, of course

Mei Xiang, a panda at Smithsonian's National Zoo, celebrated her 17th birthday with a cake made of frozen juice. (Editor's note: A previous description of the video incorrectly described Mei Xiang's birthday treat.)

Happy birthday Mei Xiang! Here’s some panda cake.

A video of the panda eating cake for her 17th birthday.


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Still too early to tell if zoo’s giant panda is pregnant

Pregnant or not? The National Zoo gave Mei Xiang a second ultrasound.


Is she pregnant? National Zoo officials take first ultrasound of giant panda

(Charles Dharapak / AP)

They are hoping for another cub from Mei Xiang.


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(Courtesy of National Zoo / Courtesy of National Zoo)

The zoo is dropping webcams trained on otters, an orangutan and some other animals — but not the pandas.


Pandas Bao Bao, Mei Xiang eat fruitsicles

During the summer, the giant pandas at the Smithsonian's National Zoo usually receive a refreshing fruitsicle treat every day.


Watch Bao Bao, the giant panda at the National Zoo, play in a new yard

(Michael S. Williamson / The Washington Post)

A month after she moved out of her mom’s place, zoo officials said Bao Bao is adjusting well.

D.C. finally gets that long-awaited shipment of frozen panda semen from China

If all goes according to plan, a new baby panda could be on the way.


Panda cub Bao Bao approaches life transition, seems happy and healthy

Cub’s relationship with mother, Mei Xiang, is changing. Soon, she will stop nursing and start living apart.