Panda cub takes first steps

Unnamed panda born at SD Zoo 11 weeks ago

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Zoo's 11-week-old giant panda took some tentative baby steps Thursday during his weekly veterinary examination.

P.K. Robbins, the zoo's senior veterinarian, described the male cub's attempt to walk "like a toddler holding onto the furniture." The cub's physical development is on track for a panda at his age, she said.

According to the zoo, the unnamed cub lunges forward with his front legs, but his rear legs are not yet strong enough to support his weight and he can only take a few steps before he rests.

Although he might be able to walk on all four legs in a few weeks, it will be at least a few more months before the cub is mobile enough to be included in the panda exhibit, according to the zoo.

For now, the panda cub -- the sixth born at the zoo -- can be viewed via the PandaCam at sandiegozoo.org/pandacam.

Only around 1,600 giant pandas are known the exist in the wild. The San Diego Zoo, and three other zoos around the U.S., conduct research on the bears, which are on loan from their native China.

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