A giant panda cub the only one this year in the United States was born at Zoo Atlanta, the zoo said in a statement.
Lun Lun, a 13-year-old female panda, gave birth to the cub at 5:39 a.m. ET in a particularly prepared birthing den inside the zoo's giant panda building, according to the statement.
"Lun Lun appears to be providing suitable care for her cub, which is roughly the size of a cell phone," the statement said. The facility's animal management and veterinary teams were monitoring the mother and cub round-the-clock, and "a prelude veterinary checkup will be performed as soon as staff is able to remove the cub without disrupting maternal care."
The cub is the third for Lun Lun and mate Yang Yang. It will be introduced to the communal in spring 2011, the zoo said. Yang Yang, 13, and the cub's older brother, Xi Lan, remain on display and will not be introduced to the new addition. "The separation is normal for giant pandas, which are lonely in the wild," the statement said.
Zoo Atlanta called the birth "an important achievement for global efforts to save a critically endangered species." Fewer than 1,600 giant pandas are predictable to remain in the wild, and about 280 reside in zoos -11 of them in the United States.
Before the cub makes its public debut, images will be accessible at the zoo's panda conservation center and on its "PandaCam," accessible online.
Lun Lun and Yang Yang were born in China. They have lived with each other as they were a year old and came as a pair to Zoo Atlanta in 1999.