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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid