Panda Cub Makes His Debut

There's a new panda at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. -- and he's causing panda-monium. See what I did there?

Large crowds were on hand to see Bei Bei make his debut. Mike Carter-Conneen reports.


  --REPORTER PKG-AS FOLLOWS--
WE JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE EVERYONE GETS TO SEE OUR BABY PANDAS TODAY.
NEARLY FIVE MONTHS OLD...
(Nat sound)
"Oh my God! So cute!"
PANDA CUB BEI BEI'S BIG DEBUT BROUGHT BIG CROWDS TO THE NATIONAL ZOO...
Barbara Barron/Zoo Visitor
"Well, I got here at 4 am."
BARBARA BARRON WAS FIRST IN LINE.
Barbara Barron/Zoo Visitor
"I just think it's amazing. They're born, they look like a stick of butter and 20 pounds, I can't wait to see the little darling."
BUT WHAT IS IT ABOUT PANDAS THAT MAKES SO MANY SO PASSIONATE?
Gabrielle Guy/Zoo Visitor
"They're really cute and um... yeah, pretty much, they're really cute."
Alexa Knoell/Zoo Visitor
"There's something about them that's so peaceful and calm and makes me really happy."
A FEW VISITORS EVEN SHED TEARS OF JOY!
Alexa Knoell/Zoo Visitor
"Because it's really special and I love pandas. She loves a lot of animals. She's going to be a large animal vet so she'll take care of animals like horses and cows so animals mean a lot to her."
BUT GETTING A GLIMPSE OF BEI BEI IS NOT GUARANTEED.
Kristin Crysler/Zoo Visitor
"We saw him peak his head out, but at least it was something." (laughs)
(Reporter standup)
A TRIP TO GO SEE BEI BEI CAN BE A BIT OF A GAMBLE. VISITORS TO THE ZOO TODAY SAY THEY WAITED AN HOUR OR LONGER ONLY TO COME INSIDE AND DISCOVER BEI BEI WAS HIDING AWAY IN HIS DEN. EVEN WHEN HE IS VISIBLE, ZOOKEEPERS SAY HE KEEPS 90  PERCENT OF THE DAY SLEEPING - AFTER ALL BEI BEI IS A BABY.
Marty Dearie/Nat'l Zoo Animal Keeper
"He needs to spend as much energy as he gets from mom's milk getting bigger."
DURING THE DAY, THE ZOO SAYS HE'S MOST ACTIVE BETWEEN 12 AND 2 P-M.
Marty Dearie/Nat'l Zoo Animal Keeper
"During that time, he might be awake 15, 20, 30 minutes."
HE'S STARTING TO NIBBLE ON BAMBOO... AND IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS, HE'LL BE ALLOWED OUTSIDE.
UNTIL THEN, VISITORS WILL KEEP THEIR FINGERS CROSSED FOR FACE TIME IN THE PANDA HOUSE.
Barbara Barron/Zoo Visitor
"So it depends on how he gets up this morning. And say all right this is my day to put on a show for them." (laughs)
AT THE NATIONAL ZOO...
Barbara Barron/Zoo Visitor
"I just wish I could touch him for a moment..."
MIKE CARTER-CONNEEN...
Barbara Barron/Zoo Visitor
"But I know that's impossible."


Bei Bei is already a huge celebrity for people all around the country.  There have been more than five million views on the panda cams since he was born in August.

And you might be curious about the adorable panda's name. Bei Bei actually means “precious treasure”. First Lady Michelle Obama, joined the First Lady of China to name the cub back in September. Bei Bei will spend his first four years of life here in the U.S., before he's moved to China.

Instructional Links

Website Article: The Natinal Zoo, Giant Pandas at the Smithsonian's National Zoo

https://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/GiantPandas/

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