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National Zoo's new panda cub has doubled in size

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

WASHINGTON -- The surviving panda cub at the National Zoo has more than doubled in size in the nearly two weeks since he was born.

Zoo officials say veterinarians were able to do a quick examination of the male cub on Wednesday when his mother, Mei Xiang, left her den. The cub weighed 10 ounces as of then. He was about 4 ounces at birth.

Mei Xiang gave birth to twin cubs on Aug. 22. The smaller of the two cubs died four days later. Mei Xiang stopped caring for the smaller cub, and zookeepers were bottle-feeding it.

Dr. Don Deiffer, the chief veterinarian, had said during a press conference in late August, that the bigger twin was still with the mother panda and doing well. The smaller cub had been doing well, but had not increased in weight and condition declined. The cub eventually died.

The panda mom did not show preference for one cub over the other, Deiffer said. While disappointed, Deiffer said they wanted to remain optimistic about the surviving panda.

The surviving cub appears to be healthy and developing normally. He's still pink in color, but his black markings are becoming visible. He has not yet opened his eyes, which is normal.

Mei Xiang's first cub, Tai Shan, was born in 2005. Her second cub, Bao Bao, just turned 2 years old.

The National Zoo is one of only four zoos nationwide to have pandas, which are on loan from China. But the Washington pandas have a history that makes them closely watched.