SAN DIEGO, Ca. (WTVR)–The panda cub at the San Diego Zoo marked two milestones this week: his first 100 days of life, and the emergence of a new set of teeth. The unnamed panda’s body condition was also above average, with ample fat stores over his spine and a full belly, and he is making strides towards making strides too.
Resident veterinarian Matt Kinney says that the panda has new teeth emerging in both his arcades, as well as increased mobility.
“Today we’re at the San Diego Zoo and we just completed the weekly exam on the panda cub. The big findings were there are some teeth that are erupting in the upper arcade, there’s at least six teeth up there, and then two teeth in the lower arcade, and the other big finding is that he’s much more mobile, he’s able to have the strength to post up on all four limbs, and he’s able to crawl in a direction,” says Matt Kinney, resident veterinarian at the San Diego Zoo.
The male panda weighed 9.2 pounds (4 kilograms) and is more than 23 inches (58 centimeters) long from nose to tail. During his exam Tuesday (November 06), the cub wiggled and tried to crawl despite the staff’s best efforts to hold him still to try to get accurate measurement.
The panda is also making progress with his vision.
“Looking at his eyes, he’s able to focus in on certain objects, there are certain people, you can tell that he’ll get fixated on one person, or one object on the floor, he’s really focusing with his eyes right now,” says Kinney.
The San Diego Zoo’s giant pandas are on a research loan from the People’s Republic of China. As part of this long-term program, the Zoo is also collaborating with the Chinese Academy of Science in studies of behavior, ecology, genetics and conservation of wild pandas living in the Foping Nature Reserve.
Only 1,600 giant pandas are believed to exist in the wild, and the species is primarily threatened by habitat loss.
The panda will be named November 13, following the Chinese cultural tradition of naming the giant panda only after it has aged 100 days.