National Zoo's Adorable Newborn Giant Panda Is Named Bei Bei (Precious Treasure)


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Photo Credit: Smithsonian National Zoo via Flickr

On September 25th, US first lady Michelle Obama and China's first lady Peng Liyuan announced that the recently born giant panda at Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington D.C. would be called Bei Bei. The name which means 'precious treasure' in Mandarin Chinese, was selected from a list suggested by officials at the zoo and the Wolong Nature Reserve in China.

Bei Bei is one two cubs that Mei Xiang a giant panda on loan from China gave birth to on Saturday, August 22nd. However, soon after, the zookeepers noticed that she was having a hard time handling the tiny hairless cubs that are entirely reliant on the mother for food, warmth, and protection.

Photo Credit: Smithsonian National Zoo via Flickr

They, therefore, decided to remove the one she was not close to and place it in an incubator. The panda team's plan was to switch the two every few hours so that both could receive the nurturing they need from their mother. However, by Sunday, Mei Xiang refused to swap, instead deciding to focus on the stronger of the two cubs.

Though this may seem cruel, experts say this instinct is common in giant pandas in the wild. That's because the tiny cubs require a lot of attention, which make it impossible for mothers to look after more than one at a time. Left with little choice, the zoo's panda team moved the second one in an incubator and tried to raise it themselves. Unfortunately, the baby kept getting increasingly weaker and passed away on Wednesday, August 29th.

Image Credit: Smithsonian National Zoo

While that was a slight setback, the good news is that Bei Bei, who celebrated his 45-day milestone on October 7th, is doing extremely well. Now weighing a healthy four and a half pounds, the fluffy black and white bundle is starting to open his eyes and even sprouting some baby teeth.

Bei Bei will continue to be nurtured by Mei Xiang until he is just over a year old. Then similar to pandas in the wild, he will move away from 'home', which in this case means getting his own enclosure. When he turns five, Bei Bei will head to the special giant panda breeding program at the Wolong Nature Reserve in China's Sichuan Province and hopefully, help produce some offspring of his own.

Photo Credit: Smithsonian National Zoo via Flickr

Endemic to China, giant pandas largely feed on bamboo, though they may eat other foods such as honey, bananas, oranges, yams and even fish, if available. The majestic animals have a lifespan of about 15 years in the wild, and 20 in captivity. Unfortunately, loss of habitat due to deforestation has reduced their numbers drastically. There are currently only about 2,000 (1,600 in the wild and 376 in captivity) giant pandas left in the world, which is why the news of every newborn is met with such joy.


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  • katenice
    kateniceMonday, March 15, 2021 at 10:57 am
    the newborn Panda is a cutie pie
    • cakatejifuwe
      cakatejifuweFriday, March 12, 2021 at 11:51 am
      • winterblizzards
        winterblizzardsTuesday, October 20, 2020 at 12:13 pm
        • kerutahu-159977085301
          kerutahu-159977085301Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 1:40 pm
          i like your panda
          • july14
            july14Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 10:52 am
            soo cute I love pandas sooo much
            • wolfieland
              wolfielandSunday, August 9, 2020 at 11:54 am
              awwwwwwwww nothing can get cuter then dis
              • tae_case
                tae_caseTuesday, November 17, 2020 at 8:56 am
                Yes it can, like a simply cute baby.
              • animereina2021
                animereina2021Thursday, May 7, 2020 at 5:42 am
                Isn't this the panda that as playing in the snow? I think so... Bei Bei has grown so,much! He's is now about to turn 4 (and maybe have turned 5 by now) and you can see one of the articles of him playing in the snow😊
                • marianag2526
                  marianag2526Friday, February 21, 2020 at 12:27 pm
                  Soo cute
                  • lianamyring
                    lianamyringTuesday, January 7, 2020 at 1:31 am
                    I really like this article
                    • lola246Wednesday, September 25, 2019 at 2:10 pm
                      That panda is so CUTE I LOVE IT!!!!