National Zoo's Newest Panda Makes Public Debut
Animal lovers who've been eagerly awaiting their chance to see the Smithsonian's National Zoo's newest baby panda finally got their wish in Washington, D.C. this weekend.
Bei Bei, who is now five months old, made his public debut on Saturday, two months after he was first shown off behind closed doors to the media back in December.
The cuteness meter was registering at 11 as eager Giant panda enthusiasts crowded into the exhibit to get the first public peeks of Bei Bei.
"Today was a thrilling day at the National Zoo," a spokesperson told ABC News. "After watching Bei Bei on the panda cam for months, our public got to see this 22-pound cute conservation success in person."
Around 4,300 hundred visitors flocked to the zoo for the debut of Bao Bao, Bei Bei's sister. Prior to official counts on Saturday, officials estimated Bei Bei would attract roughly the same size crowd.
The zoo's newest cub was born in August, one of twins born to Mei Xiang. Bei Bei's older twin brother survived only a short time.
But Bei Bei has now grown into a husky little cub and is bigger than both his sister Bao Bao and brother Tai Shan were at his age.
While not fully formed, the cub staff call a "tank" is anything but fragile.
"The cubs are very dense and heavy," zoo biologist Laurie Thompson told the Washington Post after Bei Bei's December media debut. "They’re not fragile, at all."
Bei Bei is one of four pandas now in residence at the National Zoo, including mother Mei Xiang, an adult male named Tian Tian and Bei Bei's 2-year-old sister Bao Bao.