mei and tian

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I will be so disappointed if any future drama that contains a concubine selection sequence does not have this trope, where the demure innocent girl from a lesser family spills water/tea/soup/insert-liquid-here on the snotty, bratty rich girl from the powerful family, requiring the plucky female lead who is a Strong Female Character™ to come to her rescue and have an argument with the bratty girl in the middle of the palace.

Also related is the trope of the plucky female lead who is a Strong Female Character™ entering the palace for concubine selection, planning to hide her talents because she doesn’t want to be chosen, but Fate conspired against her and made her reveal her talents anyway, leading to her being the Chosen One, thus starting off a whole epic herstory of palace rivalries and intrigue.

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Giant panda Bao Bao, born at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., in August 2013, will be heading to China this winter.

Bao Bao’s parents, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, are on loan from China, and the agreement calls for any pandas born to the breeding pair to be sent to the Chinese breeding program before they turn 4.

Bao Bao’s older brother, Tai Shan, made the journey in 2010. Now it will be Bao Bao’s turn. FedEx will be flying her to Chengdu “within the first few months of 2017,” the National Zoo says.

Bye-Bye, Bao Bao: Popular Giant Panda Heads To China This Winter

Photos, top to bottom: Connor Padraic Mallon/The Smithsonian’s National Zoo; Abby Wood/Smithsonian Institution; National Zoo

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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.”

Panda Cub Bei Bei Is Set To Share His Adorableness With The World

Photos and GIF: Jun Tsuboike/NPR

Animal keeper Nicole MacCorkle holds Bei Bei, Washington’s National Zoo’s newest panda and offspring of Mei Xiang and Tian Tian. During an audience with a small group of reporters he was so relaxed that he fell asleep and drooled on an examination table. At nearly 4 months old, Bei Bei weighs more than 17 pounds and is gaining about a pound a week.
Picture: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik