Baby panda born at San Diego Zoo is named after visitors vote on six choices


Visitors to the San Diego Zoo named this giant panda cub Xiao Liwu. (Tammy Spratt/SAN DIEGO ZOO VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS)
November 14, 2012

San Diego Zoo’s “little gift” won’t stay little for long.

The zoo’s giant panda cub was officially named Xiao Liwu (ZHEE-ow LEE-woo), Chinese for “little gift,” on Tuesday.

The cub was born July 29 and was named 100 days after his birth, according to Chinese zoo tradition. Officials said he weighs 9.2 pounds and stretches more than 23 inches long from nose to tail. When fully grown, Xiao Liwu will probably weight about 250 pounds and be four to six feet long.

Zoo officials got 7,000 suggested names, chose their top six and put them up for a vote. More than 35,000 zoo visitors voted on names that meant Little Gift, Miracle, Raindrop, Big Ocean or Big Sea, Brave Son and Water Dragon.

The happy news is a little bittersweet for people in the Washington area. A panda cub born at the National Zoo on September 16 died six days later. So while it’s fun to see adorable photographs of Xiao Liwu, it’s hard not to think about what our panda would be like had she lived.

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