Using high technology to prepare for a baby panda (pictures)
As San Diego Zoo staff waited to see if a pregnant panda would give birth, they relied on military imaging and other tech tools to get real-time progress reports. CNET Road Trip 2012 got an up close look.
SAN DIEGO --For weeks, San Diego Zoo staffers knew that Bai Yun, a 20-year-old female panda, might be pregnant. But given that she had had an unsuccessful pregnancy in 2011 -- and because only one other known panda has ever given birth at such an age -- they kept their enthusiasm in check.
But last Friday, based on several factors, including indications from a pair of high-tech tools used to monitor Bai Yun, they issued a birth watch, and today, Bai Yun delivered. No one knows yet the sex of the newborn cub, nor will they for weeks. But who cares? It's a newborn panda.
This is a picture of a previous panda cub at the zoo.
One of the tools the staff used to monitor Bai Yun's pregnancy was ultrasound. Here, in this ultrasound image, it is possible -- if you know what you're looking for -- to see evidence of the in-utero cub.
This is Yun Zi, Bai Yun's 3-year-old son, who's still at the San Diego Zoo but may soon be sent back to China under an agreement that says that China has the right to claim any three-year-old pandas born outside the country.