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

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs