National Zoo panda Bao Bao meets the press

The National Zoo’s 4-month-old giant panda cub made her first appearance before the media on Monday.

Bao Bao, the giant panda cub at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, mugs for the cameras as she greets the media for the first time. Then, Bao Bao went back to sleep as mom Mei Xiang munched on bamboo. The public gets their first look at the cub on Jan. 18. (Lee Powell/The Washington Post)

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:

In a momentous occasion, the baby panda at the National Zoo took her first tentative steps. (Smithsonian National Zoo)

Our first update after the panda cam went dark for two weeks during the government shutdown:

The National Zoo's giant panda cub has grown and passed several developmental milestones since the panda cams went dark because of the government shutdown, according to zoo officials. (Smithsonian National Zoo)

The National Zoo’s Tian Tian responds to the news that he’s the father:

Tian Tian, a 264-pound giant panda, is the father of the newborn cub at National Zoo. (Michael E. Ruane & Casey Capachi / The Washington Post)

Our first glimpse of the new cub:

The National Zoo’s giant female panda Mei Xiang gave birth to a cub on Friday. (The Washington Post)

PHOTOS: National Zoo’s panda makes an appearance

Natalie Jennings is a Web producer for PostTV.
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