Tian Tian, a son of Pan Pan 2016-11-14 by kuromimi64 Via Flickr: His father Pan Pan (盼盼) passed away on Dec. 28, 2016 at the age of 31. This photo was taken in November 2016 when I visited Tian Tian and his family living at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, DC, USA.
Weighing in at 17 ½ pounds, 4-month-old giant panda cub Bei Bei made his media debut Wednesday at the Smithsonian National Zoo. Keepers say the cub, born in August, is developmentally on track and ahead of his older sister Bao Bao in some milestones. The cub will make his public debut on Jan. 16.
“He’s actually walking a lot sooner than his older sister did,” said panda keeper Juan Rodriguez. “He’s about 4 or so pounds heavier than his sister was at this same age, so he’s definitely a much larger bear and developing a lot faster than his sister did.”
Bei Bei, pronounced “Bay-Bay,” was named by first lady Michelle Obama and China’s first lady, Madame Peng Liyuan, in September. The name means “precious treasure.”
At Tuesday’s debut, the cub was shown off to the media, then Bei Bei cuddled with mom Mei Xiang while dad Tian Tian enjoyed a few rounds of bamboo breakfast.
And in case you’re wondering if being panda keeper to Bei Bei is as good as it sounds, Rodriguez said it is. “You never get tired of it … it’s always a very unique and special moment.”