Say Hello to Bei Bei! National Zoo Introduces the World to its Newest Giant Panda Cub

Bei Bei, a 4-month-old panda born at the National Zoo in Washington, DC, had his media debut this week.

Bei Bei, the National Zoo in Washington's newest giant panda cub, had his media debut this week.

The 4-month-old 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 he'll soon be introduced to the public to become part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's panda exhibit.

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While the public is excited to meet the new cub at his first public appearance on January 16, Bei Bei looked less than thrilled at his media debut. The 17-pound panda dozed off during the Monday event, the first of several such media events this week.

Bei Bei, whose name means "precious treasure", has yet to go outside. Zookeepers say they want him to fully learn to walk before he's allowed out. His eyesight has also yet to fully form.

“He can see, [but] not well,' zoo biologist Laurie Thompson told the Washington Post. “He can definitely look at us, but he gets spooked a bit by fast movements."

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While not fully formed, the cub staff call a "tank" is anything but fragile.

"The cubs are very dense and heavy," Thompson said. "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.

Bei Bei is set to join the rest in the display habitat in January or February.

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