Baby Panda, Bao Bao, Has A Big First Day Outside

Giant panda cub Bao Bao (pronounced bow bow) was allowed outside for the fist time at Washington D.C.’s National Zoo, reports Daily Mail. Bao Bao was outside for about two hours on Tuesday (April 1) with her mother Mei Xiang.

Bao Bao spent her time outside trying to climb on one of the smaller trees in the enclosure and also just sitting on the grass with a piece of bamboo. According to zoo officials, while she has started tasting bamboo, Bao Bao is still nursing from Mei Xiang.

Before the panda cub was allowed outside, animal keepers had “cub-proofed” the panda yards. To do this, the keepers put collars on the trees to prevent Bao Bao from climbing too high. Some of the tree limbs were trimmed and the keepers also spread bales of hay out to cushion any accidental falls.

The giant panda cub was named Bao Bao after the Smithsonian’s National Zoo received more than 123,000 votes for the name from the public. The name means “treasure” or “precious.”

Bao Bao, born August 23, 2013, is only the second surviving panda cub to be born at the National Zoo since pandas were first brought to the zoo in 1972. The pandas were originally brought to the National Zoo to commemorate President Richard Nixon’s visit to China.

A male panda, Tai Shan, was Mei Xiang’s only other surviving cub. He was returned to China in 2010 for breeding purposes. Male panda Tian Tian is father to both Tai Shan and Bao Bao.

According to E! Online, Bao Bao is one of only several hundred giant pandas alive in captivity today. There are fewer than 2,000 giant pandas in the world.

Giant pandas, such as Bao Bao, are on the endangered species list and they are partially protected by conservation efforts at reservations and in zoos such as the Smithsonian’s National Zoo where Bao Bao lives. The number of pandas currently alive is not helped by the rarity of panda births. The birth of Bao Bao, in fact, was the result of artificial insemination.

[Image Via Google]