The National Zoo and the Smithsonian Institute for Conservation Biology are asking the public to help name the now adorable 9.2-pound little male giant panda as the habitat of the David M. Rubenstein family giant panda . The August 21 birth was broadcast live on the zoo’s Giant Panda camera, and since then more than a million virtual visitors have tune in to watch him grow up. Voters can select their preferred name from November 16-20 on the Zoo’s website (maximum one vote per day). The name that receives the most votes will be assigned to the little one. The zoo will announce the winning name on November 23. Click here for other media resources on Little Giant Pandas.
Giant pandas are an international symbol of endangered wildlife and hope, and the birth of this cub has provided the world with a much-needed moment of joy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The possible names, chosen by the zoo and Chinese partners, reflect the extraordinary circumstances in which this cub was born and celebrate the collaboration between colleagues who strive to conserve this species. The possible small names are:
Fu Zai (福 仔) [fu-tzai]- prosperous boy
Xiao Qi ji (小 奇迹) [shiau-chi-ji]-small miracle
Xing Fu (幸福) [shing-fu]-happy and prosperous
Zaï Zaï (仔仔) [tzai-tzai]- a traditional Chinese nickname for a boy
The zoo will continue to provide updates on the Cub on its website, on social media using the hashtags #PandaStory and #PandaCubdates and in the Giant Panda email newsletter. Giant panda fans can see the cub, mother Mei Xiang (may-SHONG) and father Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN) via the Giant Panda camera on the zoo’s website. This is one of five live animal webcams hosted on the zoo’s website.
At 22, mother Mei Xiang is the oldest giant panda in the United States to give birth. Reproductive scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and zoo vets performed artificial insemination on Mei Xiang on March 22 with frozen sperm taken from Tian Tian, who turned 23 on August 27. This is the first time that a zoo in the United States has had a successful pregnancy and delivery through artificial insemination using only frozen sperm. Zoo vets confirmed the presence of a fetus during an ultrasound on August 14 and 17.
As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute has updated its schedules and entry requirements. The panda house of the David M. Rubenstein family’s giant panda habitat is currently closed to ensure the tranquility of Mei Xiang and her cub. Asia Trail, including the giant pandas viewing, is temporarily closed to visitors for scheduled repaving of the aisles.
In addition to this cub, Mei Xiang gave birth to three surviving descendants: Tai Shan (tie-SHON), Bao Bao (BOW BOW) and Bei Bei (BAY BAY). Tai Shan was born on July 9, 2005 and moved to China in February 2010. Bao Bao was born on August 23, 2013 and moved to China in February 2017. Bei Bei was born on August 22, 2015 and moved to China in November. 2019. As part of the zoo’s cooperative breeding agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association, all cubs born at the zoo move to China when they are 4 years old. The zoo’s current cooperative breeding agreement expires in December 2020.