Few people would dispute that the National Zoo’s baby panda is precious. But now it’s official. Mei Xiang and Tian Tian’s cub on Sunday was named Bao Bao (pronounced bow-BOW), which means “precious” or “treasure” in Mandarin Chinese.
The zoo’s naming ceremony was held 100 days after the cub’s birth, to follow a Chinese tradition. The event featured music, dancing, VIPs (such as the Chinese ambassador) and video wishes from first lady Michelle Obama and China’s first lady, Peng Liyuan.
The name-day girl was not in attendance, however. She stayed in the den she shares with Mei Xiang and was seen only on the Panda Cam. Bao Bao, who took her first steps about two weeks ago, is scheduled to go on public view in January.
The name was picked in an online vote. More than 123,000 votes were cast for one of five names chosen by panda keepers, the Chinese and U.S. ambassadors and the group Friends of the National Zoo.