David Rubenstein, a co-chief executive of the Carlyle Group asset management firm, pledged to fund the Washington-based program through 2020.
    
The zoo is home to female giant panda Mei Xiang, adult male Tian Tian, female two-year-old Bao Bao and an unnamed male cub born on August 22. His twin died of pneumonia within a week of birth.
    
"The National Zoo's panda program has been a remarkable success -- two healthy pandas in just two years -- and I am pleased to support it for another five years," Rubenstein said in statement issued by the zoo.
    
The zoo's panda habitat -- its star attraction -- is named after the Rubenstein family in recognition of a previous donation to the program made in 2011.     

Eleven conservation biologists have also been awarded fellowships funded by Rubenstein to study pandas in the United States and China. A twitter account set up in honor of the newborn panda cub reacted gleefully to the news.
    
"So wait... USD 4.5m divided by us 4 pandas here... Holy moly!! Am I a millionaire now????? #NeedanAccountant," he tweeted under the handle @houseofcubs.
    
A member of the zoo-owning Smithsonian Institution's Board of Regents since 2009, Rubenstein has given a total of USD 9 million for panda research and another USD 2 million in 2013 for Asian elephant research.

 

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