Giant panda cub Bei Bei recovering from ‘life-saving surgery’

WASHINGTON — Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s giant panda cub Bei Bei is in stable condition after undergoing ‘life-saving surgery’ Friday morning.

Zoo officials say Bei Bei underwent emergency bowel obstruction surgery where veterinarians removed a “dense, lemon-sized mass of bamboo.”

“I’m extremely proud and thankful for our team of keepers, veterinarians, animal care staff, volunteer medical experts and all staff who have helped facilitate the urgent response,” said Director Dennis Kelly. “Bei Bei’s prognosis is very good.

National Zoo officials say the panda cub is awake and recovering after the successful surgery.

This comes after animal care staff noticed Bei Bei showing signs of stomach discomfort and nausea on Thanksgiving. They say the cub was sleeping more than normal and not eating.

Friday morning, animal care staff found a blockage of chewed-up bamboo at the top of the small intestine. Veterinarians call Friday morning’s procedure “live-saving” as the bamboo was “distending on the small intestine and preventing intestinal movement.”

Bei Bei is now is recovering and will be housed separately from Mei Xiang, his mother, and off the panda cams for the next few days.

“The challenge will be for our team to monitor him safely and that requires his cooperation,” said Kelly. “We will keep everyone up to speed as he recovers.”

The Zoo said it will post daily updates on Bei Bei’s recovery on social media.