Precious Panda Cub: National Zoo Visitors Must Wait A Bit Longer To See Bao Bao In Person

WASHINGTON (WJZ)—The Smithsonian National Zoo’s prize panda cub officially has a name. The announcement was made on a monumental day in Chinese tradition for the cub.

Mary Bubala reports after more than 123,000 votes online, the panda cub was named Bao Bao.

Bao Bao means precious or treasure in Chinese.

“We were thrilled. That is what we wanted and voted for. Yay. Bao Bao,” said Susan Wilmeth.

Twelve-year old Emily Mackinnon came from Pennsylvania for the big announcement.

“I voted for Mulan because I think it’s a pretty name, but I still like Bao Bao. It’s a very cute name,” Mackinnon said.

Six-year old Madison has been learning Chinese in school and says she’s happy about the new name.

“I think it’s a great day. We have a good name for the panda and everyone is so excited,” said Cui Tiankai, Chinese Ambassador to the United States.

“Bao Bao is very fitting. She is a treasure,” said Nicole MacCorkle, animal keeper.

Visitors who want to see Bao Bao in person will have to wait a little longer.

“It’s not for lack of trying on Mei Xiang’s part. She’s been taking her out on field trips as we like to call it. But it will be a little bit longer before she’s ready to explore the outdoor world,” MacCorkle said.

Zoo keepers are predicting you’ll be able to see her in early January. So for now we’ll have to rely on the panda cam.

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