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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid