Bei Bei: Giant panda cub makes debut after being kept from public since birth

The baby panda can also be seen via live stream

Marta Portocarrero
Monday 18 January 2016 13:25 GMT
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Cute Giant Panda cub at Zoo

A nearly five-month old giant panda made his official debut, having been kept from the public since birth, to the delight of hundreds of visitors.

Bei Bei, which means Precious Treasure in Mandarin Chinese, was born on August 22 at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC, but kept away from the public until last Saturday to have time to bond with its mother, zoo officials said.

The baby panda was born by artificial insemination to the zoo’s giant pandas Mei Xiang and Tian-Tian. A second cub was born with Bei Bei but died shortly after.

As the video shows, on the day of his official presentation to the public, Bei Bei was treated like a star. Despite feeling sleepy, the 12.5 pounds cub played with a ball and climbed the walls of his exhibit filled with bamboo, melting the heart of any panda-lover.

Hundreds of visitors, some dressed in panda costumes and armed with smartphones, were excited to catch a glimpse of the zoo’s new attraction.

For those who couldn’t make it to see Bei Bei, the zoo’s website provides the opportunity to watch the cub in its enclosure via a live stream.

Giant pandas are native to China and have a very low reproductive rate, especially in captivity. There are about 300 giant pandas in captivity and some 1,600 in the wild.

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