The National Zoo’s 4-month-old giant panda cub made her first appearance before the media on Monday.
PostTV’s Lee Powell was at the Giant Panda House to see Bao Bao toddle in her habitat and mug for the camera while her mother Mei Xiang munched on bamboo.
Panda watchers have been able to monitor Bao Bao since shortly after she was born via the National Zoo’s live-streaming “panda cam.” But the public’s first opportunity to see her live will be on Jan. 18. Zoo officials provided this statement about what visitors can expect:
The amount of time Bao Bao and [her mother] Mei Xiang will be on exhibit each day will depend on the bears’ behavior. In the first few weeks they may not be on exhibit for long periods of time; they will spend more time on exhibit as Bao Bao gets older. They will also have access to the den, where Bao Bao has spent much of the past few months, and may choose to spend time in it instead of in public viewing areas.
Bao Bao weighs almost 17 pounds, which is right where she needs to be, said National Zoo biologist Laurie Thompson. She is learning how to climb, which inevitably leads to spills like this one:
“Pandas cubs are very dense. They have a lot of fur, and it’s very, very thick fur,” Thompson said. “They’re used to taking tumbles. They’re made for it.”
Check out footage from other Bao Bao milestones below. Here she is taking her first steps in November:
Our first update after the panda cam went dark for two weeks during the government shutdown:
The National Zoo’s Tian Tian responds to the news that he’s the father:
Our first glimpse of the new cub: