One of the giant panda cubs born on at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, DC is being examines by veterinarians in this image taken on August 22, 2015. REUTERS/Smithsonian's National Zoo/Handout

(P1) The National Zoo’s new giant panda cub is healthy and putting on weight fast, the zoo said on Friday.

(P2) The cub is one of two giant pandas born on August 22 to Mei Xiang, a top TOURIST ATTRACTION in the U.S. capital. The smaller of the cubs died last week of PNEUMONIA and the zoo said a Wednesday examination showed the surviving panda was doing well.

(P3) “Our vets were able to do a giant panda cub CHECKUP Wednesday. He’s healthy & weighs 287.5 grams” (10 ounces), the zoo said on Twitter.

(P4) The cub’s weight had gone up 83 percent since it was weighed last Friday.

(P5) A 15-second video showed a gloved zoo worker handling the largely pink cub. He had some light-colored fur and faint CHARACTERISTIC dark markings around the eyes, front shoulders and legs.

(P6) The cubs were SIRED by Tian Tian, the zoo’s male giant panda, using ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION. Their birth captured international attention since giant pandas are among the world’s most ENDANGERED SPECIES.

(P7) The new cub will be kept out of public view until January and no name has been chosen yet, officials have said. Mei Xiang previously has given birth to two surviving cubs.

(P8) Giant pandas, which are native to China, have a very low REPRODUCTIVE rate, especially in CAPTIVITY. There are about 300 giant pandas in captivity and some 1,600 in the wild.

WORDS: 232



If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Giant pandas are among the world’s most popular animals, drawing huge crowds at zoos. Why do you think this is so?
  3. Giant pandas have become a symbol of the Chinese nation. What animals are symbolic of your country?
  4. Is there a zoo near where you live? Have you ever visited it?
  5. Have you ever raised a baby animal?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Tourist attraction
  • Artificial insemination
  • Endangered species

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