News

Votes are in: National Zoo Panda gets her name

Votes are in: National Zoo Panda gets her name

BABY GETS A NAME: On her 100th day alive, the National Zoo's female panda cub officially gets her name. Photo: Associated Press

By Carey Gillam

(Reuters) – In a ceremony fitting royalty, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington said on Sunday it was naming a rare, female giant panda cub “Bao Bao,” after a public online vote that drew more than 123,000 submissions.

Bao Bao (rhyming with Pow Pow) translates as precious or treasure in English, the zoo said. It was one of five Mandarin Chinese names offered in the online vote that ran from Nov. 5 to Nov. 22. Other options included Ling Hua, meaning a darling, delicate flower; and Mulan, a smart and brave Chinese warrior. The zoo said it had received 123,039 votes.

The name was revealed on what is the cub’s 100th day of life in keeping with a Chinese tradition for naming babies, and was presented in both English and Chinese languages on scrolls hanging from a 12-foot (4-meter) arch at the zoo.

Music and dancing and Chinese treats were served in celebration, zoo officials said.

Chinese and U.S. officials made the naming announcement jointly, and said Bao Bao underscores a collaboration on giant panda conservation that dates back to 1972.

“Bao Bao symbolizes 41 years of research and collaboration both at the National Zoo and in China,” Dennis Kelly, director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, said in a statement. “We’re grateful to everyone around the world who voted to name her and help us celebrate today.”

Baby Bao Bao was born August 23 during a live broadcast on the zoo’s “panda cam” to 15-year-old panda Mei Xiang in the U.S. national zoo. But the cub will be kept from the public until she is old enough to leave the den, estimated to be sometime in early 2014, zoo officials said.

They added that the cub’s father, Tian Tian, was served a special ice treat on Sunday to celebrate the naming.

Ambassador Cui Tiankai from the People’s Republic of China and Assistant Secretary Kerri-Ann Jones from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs participated in the naming ceremony.

After she turns four years old, Bao Bao will move to the China Conservation and Research Center in Wolong, Sichuan, China, zoo officials said.

Giant pandas are one of the world’s most endangered species and Bao Bao was conceived through artificial insemination in March. The natural home of giant pandas is in a few mountain ranges in central China.

There are only about 1,600 known to be living in the wild and some 300 in captivity, mostly in China.

(Reporting By Carey Gillam in Kansas City, Missouri; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Recent Headlines

in Local

Cities remove ban on recreational fires

Fresh
campfire

If a bonfire is on your list of “to-do’s,” feel free to start chopping that firewood. Several cities, including Bellingham, Sedro…

in Local

Bellingham now accepting permit applications and plans electronically

Fresh
Computer Type

If you are thinking of building a house in Bellingham anytime after November, don’t bother driving to the planning department…

in Sports

Ex-NFL running back Phillips charged with killing cellmate

Fresh
In this 2005 photo, former National Football League running back Lawrence Phillips is shown in Superior Court in Los Angeles. Phillips was sentenced Friday, Oct. 3, 2008, to 10 years in prison after being convicted of assault with a deadly weapon, in Los Angeles.  Photo: Associated Press/Anne Cusack

Phillips is suspected of killing 37-year-old Damion Soward at Kern Valley State Prison in April. Officials determined Soward was strangled.

in Local

Police still can’t find missing kayaker

Fresh
kayak

Searchers found the belongings of a 24-year-old kayaker who went missing on lake Whatcom early Sunday morning: his wallet, his life…

in Sports

Report: Bills worried ‘Shady’ McCoy will miss Week 1

Updated
FILE - In this March 10, 2015, file photo, Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy speaks to the media during a press conference in Orchard Park, N.Y. Bills coach Rex Ryan has no intention of putting "a muzzle" on his players. And that includes running back LeSean McCoy for questioning the motivations of his former coach, Chip Kelly. Ryan responded Wednesday, May 6, 2015, after McCoy created a stir for telling ESPN The Magazine that "there's a reason (Kelly) got rid of all the black players" in Philadelphia.

McCoy suffered a left hamstring injury during practice on August 18 and a source told Anderson that McCoy's MRI showed a "small tear" in his hamstring.