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In 2005, the mother panda gave birth to Tai Shan, a male panda that was sent to his new home in China in 2010.

Mei Xiang came to the National Zoo in December 2000 on loan with male panda Tian Tian as part of a $10 million exchange agreement with the Chinese government.

Prior to the two pandas’ arrival, the zoo had another pair of pandas who failed to produce cubs that survived.

Mr. Kelly said the panda exhibit would be closed until doctors “are confident Mei Xiang is safe and healthy.”

The zoo had not named the cub in accordance with the Chinese tradition of waiting 100 days before choosing a name. Officials said the cub would be buried following Chinese tradition as well.