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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid