News / USA

Smithsonian Zoo Celebrates Baby Panda Naming

Smithsonian Zoo's Baby Panda Gets a Namei
X
December 02, 2013 3:26 PM
Smithsonian Zoo's Baby Panda Gets a Name
David Byrd
After 100 days and more than 123,000 votes, the baby panda cub born at Washington's Smithsonian National Zoo now has a name. 

Bao Bao, means “precious” or “treasure,” was chosen through a public online vote.

With lion dancers exciting the crowd and dignitaries looking on, hundreds of panda lovers jammed the zoo’s Panda Plaza to learn the cub’s name.

Bao Bao was born August 23 to Mei Xiang, one of the zoo’s two pandas. 

Until now, the cub - who has fascinated online viewers worldwide through the Smithsonian Zoo’s "Panda Cam" - has only been referred to as “she.”

National Zoo Director Dennis Kelly and Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai attend the panda naming ceremony at the National Zoo, Washington, Dec. 1, 2013. (David Byrd/VOA)National Zoo Director Dennis Kelly and Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai attend the panda naming ceremony at the National Zoo, Washington, Dec. 1, 2013. (David Byrd/VOA)
x
National Zoo Director Dennis Kelly and Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai attend the panda naming ceremony at the National Zoo, Washington, Dec. 1, 2013. (David Byrd/VOA)
National Zoo Director Dennis Kelly and Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai attend the panda naming ceremony at the National Zoo, Washington, Dec. 1, 2013. (David Byrd/VOA)
Five names were submitted - Bao Bao, which means precious or treasure; Ling Hua or darling, delicate flower; Long Yun, a sign of luck for cooperation between China and the U.S.; Mulan, a legendary Chinese female warrior; and Zhen Bao, which means treasure or valuable.

There were 123,039 votes cast by the November 22 deadline. Zoo director Dennis Kelly announced the winning name Sunday.

Lion dancers at the panda naming ceremony at the National Zoo, Washington, Dec. 1, 2013. (David Byrd/VOA)Lion dancers at the panda naming ceremony at the National Zoo, Washington, Dec. 1, 2013. (David Byrd/VOA)
The cub received her name when she reached 100 days old. China’s ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, said giving the name is a sign of hope for a long life.

“In Chinese tradition, the 100-day celebration is very unique and of special importance, because it represents the wish that the baby will grow up in happiness and good health and will live as long as over 100 years,” he said.

Kerri-Ann Jones, the State Department’s assistant secretary of the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, said the new cub represents hope that the species will continue.

“Panda’s like Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, and now this little panda, help people from all over the world to learn about these fascinating animals," she said, "and to understand how important it is to take care of nature and the natural habitats around us.”

Hundreds of people crowded the Panda Plaza at the zoo for the ceremony. Mike Wilmeth of Woodbine, Maryland, his wife Susan and their sons - who were wearing panda baseball caps -- said they have been eagerly awaiting the naming ceremony.

“We’ve known we were going to come since the panda was born," Mike said. "The day it was born we knew that there would be a day-naming ceremony."

"Oh, it’s wonderful. We’ve been waiting for it since he - since she was born," said Susan. "We read in The Washington Post that there was going to be a panda-naming ceremony and we’ve been checking up to see the date of it all fall.”
In this Nov. 29, 2013 photo provided by the Smithsonian National Zoo, a giant panda cub is measured as it is about to turn 100 days old, at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington.In this Nov. 29, 2013 photo provided by the Smithsonian National Zoo, a giant panda cub is measured as it is about to turn 100 days old, at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington.
The ceremony also included special video messages from first lady Michelle Obama and China’s first lady Peng Liyuan. Both congratulated the zoo on the successful birth of the cub and her 100-day milestone.

Bao Bao will stay with her mother inside the panda enclosure for the next few months. Zoo officials say that she should be out in public sometime early next year.  Bao Bao will remain at the Smithsonian Zoo until she is four years old, when she will be sent back to China to produce her own cubs.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs