UPDATE September 9, 2015: The female giant panda Mei Xiang is expected to "gradually spend more time away from the den eating and drinking" the National Zoo reports. Over the weekend, the mother panda left her den to eat and drink, so keepers took the opportunity to give the tiny 14-ounce cub a quick check up. The vets listened to his heart and lungs, and found he had gained a little more than four ounces. With eyes still closed—normal for a two- and a-half week old cub—the little guy, vets said, had a "full belly. . .and appeared to be healthy."
The panda cub is turning slightly black and white. And he squawks loudly—biologists would call it healthy vocalizations. The Zoo released a new video and viewers should be forewarned not to turn it up too loud, because the vocalizations are quite healthy indeed.
In other mother panda news, Mei Xiang decided to eat some sugarcane today and drink some apple juice last night at about 6 p.m. And then about two hours later, she got up and took a much-needed bio break, leaving the cub behind. This was only the second time she's done that since the birth of her two cubs, one of which died on August 26.
"She put the cub down when she left the den and he was very quiet until she returned," the Zoo's report said, adding that keepers think she'll be doing that more frequently in the coming weeks.
With the black markings coming in around its eyes, ears and back, the little cub is also picking its head up and grunting when Mei Xiang eats. This vocalization, the Zoo reports, is a "happy noise."