Smithsonian names its new panda cub 'Bao Bao'

Bao Bao, the Smithsonian's giant panda cub, on Nov. 29.
Bao Bao, the Smithsonian's giant panda cub, on Nov. 29. Abby Wood/Smithsonian Institution

The 100-day-old female panda cub at the National Zoo in Washington, now has a name: Bao Bao (宝宝) — meaning precious or treasure — was the most popular of the five names put up for a popular vote by Zoo.

The name was announced during a ceremony at the Zoo on Sunday afternoon.

Cui Tiankai, ambassador of the People's Republic of China, wrote the name in calligraphy on scrolls, which were unfurled at the ceremony.

Tiankai said that both sides of the Pacific are excited. In a recorded video message first lady Michelle Obama said: "Our two nations have worked hand in hand in this crucial and successful effort."

As the AP points out, this is only the second cub to survive since the pandas first became a symbol of happy diplomacy between the two countries in 1972, after President Richard Nixon's historic visit to China.

The AP adds:

"Mei Xiang's only other surviving cub, a male named Tai Shan, was born in 2005 and was returned to China in 2010 for breeding. Male panda Tian Tian is the father of both cubs."

The zoo says that Bao Bao will make her public debut in early January 2014. Meanwhile, you can view the panda family on the Smithsonian's panda cam.

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