News / USA

Smithsonian Zoo's New Panda Cub Healthy, Active

Giant Panda Cub Update: Smithsonian's National Zoo, Oct. 17, 2013. Photo: Bill Clements, Smithsonian's National Zoo
Giant Panda Cub Update: Smithsonian's National Zoo, Oct. 17, 2013. Photo: Bill Clements, Smithsonian's National Zoo
David Byrd
A baby panda born at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C. is about to pass a milestone - 100 days.  The cub, the star of the zoo's Internet Panda Camera, is about to receive her name.  The cub is the newest addition to the effort to preserve and protect the endangered animals.

On a chilly, overcast November day at Washington’s National Zoo, only a few patrons wandered the brick-colored paths.  Christmas decorations - some of them featuring giant pandas - are in place as the zoo prepares for the holiday season.

One panda has been the center of international attention - a tiny female who still does not have a name.

The cub was born August 23 and more than two million people have watched her grow on the zoo’s “panda cam.”  Though she was pink and hairless and weighed only 136 grams two days after her birth, the cub now has a full coat of fur and is showing her black and white colors to online viewers. She weighs nearly 4.7 kilograms and has begun to crawl across her enclosure.  

Brandie Smith, the curator of the Giant Panda exhibit, says that the cub is helping the public learn the importance of saving these animals.

“Giant Pandas are an endangered species and every single additional panda in the world makes a difference.  So with these animals, one more baby makes a difference," said Smith.

Smith says that zoo staff has been familiarizing the cub with their voices in order to make caring for her easier.

“We have a training language with them so that we can interact and we can do the necessary things we do to keep them healthy and safe," she said.

Although the pandas’ main food is bamboo, animal keeper Nicole MacCorkle explains that right now the cub’s mother Mei Xiang is her only source of nutrition.

“Eventually, when the cub is about six-months-old - so about three months from now - she’ll start sampling some bamboo, but she’ll still be drinking some milk until she is about a year and a half, or even closer to two-years-old," said MacCorkle.

The giant panda cub is also about to receive her name. Since November 5, more than 100,000 people have voted at the Zoo’s website for one of five choices - Bao Bao, which means precious or treasure; Ling Hua, darling or delicate flower; Long Yun, which represents a sign of luck; Mulan, a legendary fifth-century Chinese female warrior; and Zhen Bao, which means treasure or valuable.

The voting closes at 4:59 UTC on November 22.  The cub will officially receive her name at a special ceremony at the zoo on December 1 when she turns 100 days old. The voting website is available in both English and Mandarin.

Leigh Mays takes her 1st grade class to see the baby panda at the National Zoo, Washington, D.C., Nov. 21, 2013. Photo: David Byrd/VOALeigh Mays takes her 1st grade class to see the baby panda at the National Zoo, Washington, D.C., Nov. 21, 2013. Photo: David Byrd/VOA
x
Leigh Mays takes her 1st grade class to see the baby panda at the National Zoo, Washington, D.C., Nov. 21, 2013. Photo: David Byrd/VOA
Leigh Mays takes her 1st grade class to see the baby panda at the National Zoo, Washington, D.C., Nov. 21, 2013. Photo: David Byrd/VOA
On this morning, teacher Leigh Mays and her first grade class from Washington’s Thompson Elementary School crowd onto the path overlooking the Panda enclosure. Mays says that her students have been learning about animals, especially pandas, as part of their studies.

“We’re doing animal research projects. So it was a perfect time to come and see the zoo, and so yesterday we watched the pandas on the panda cam and picked the name after we talked about what they all meant," said Mays.

One of Mays’ students, an Asian-American boy who identified himself as Calvin, said that he and his classmates voted for Mulan for a specific reason.

“You know I liked the name, because [she’s] a brave woman warrior. It’s like, I really like the name because out in the wild by itself, it has to be brave," said Calvin.

This panda cub will not be out in the wild any time soon. Curator Brandie Smith says the cub will be with its mother for the next several months and will not be seen in public until January.  At the age of four, the cub will be sent back to China to find a mate and have her own cubs.  

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid