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Panda cub makes her debut

POSTED: 6:37 p.m. EST, January 12, 2007

Story Highlights

Four-month-old giant panda cub, Mei Lan, makes her media debut Friday

The public will get to see the female cub in the coming weeks

Mei Lan and her mother have been in seclusion since the cub's birth in September

ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) -- She must learn to walk with a certain grace. And she must be able to handle the crowds and all the attention.

Being a debutante is tough work, especially when you're a 15-pound fur ball.

For weeks, keepers at Zoo Atlanta have been working with their 4-month-old giant panda cub, Mei Lan, to prepare her for her debut. (Watch Mei Lan stumble around her exhibit-home Video)

They have put rubber mats in her nest area to help her get traction as she learns to walk, and brought groups of zoo workers in to get her accustomed to being in front of crowds.

The cub made its media debut on Friday and limited public viewings are scheduled in coming weeks.

Getting Mei Lan and her nervous mother to this point has been no easy task. The zoo already postponed the media debut once after realizing the cub was making chirping noises that meant she was uncomfortable outside her nest.

"You just can't rush it. You have to let the animals tell you when they're ready," said Rebecca Snyder, curator of giant panda research and management.
The rest, along with pictures and a video:
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