Animal Planet :: News :: Panda Baby Named

Animal Planet :: News :: Panda Baby Named

Picture(s): AP Photo/Smithsonian’s National Zoo |

Tai Shan
In this photo released by the National Zoo, chief veterinarian Suzan Murray carries the zoo’s male giant panda cub to a table for its eighth health exam on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2005.


Washington Zoo Panda Baby Named


Oct. 17, 2005 — Washington’s National Zoo on Monday named its cute new giant panda cub, Tai Shan, which means “peaceful mountain” in Chinese, 100 days after it was born to a pair of panda parents on loan from China.

Tai Shan’s name emerged first from an online poll which pulled in more than 200,000 votes, and was bestowed by National Zoo director John Berry during a ceremony featuring Chinese music and speeches from zoo chiefs and diplomats from China’s embassy.

But the fluffy star of the show was oblivious to the fanfare, kept out of sight in a pen with its protective mother, and zoo officials said it is unlikely to emerge into the media glare until December.

Giant panda births are exceedingly rare, and in line with Chinese tradition, the cub was not named until 100 days after its birth, when survival is considered assured.

Tai Shan was born pink and hairless on July 9, and zoo keepers have kept up a daily vigil of its first steps, interaction with its mother and other progress, included in a daily online diary complimented by a Web cam of mother and cub.

The first time Tai Shan was pried away from its mother for its first new-born check up on Aug. 2, it weighed 1.82 pounds (0.8 kilograms) and measured 12 inches (32 centimeters) long.

By Oct. 12, it had bulked up to 12.7 pounds (5.7 kg ), was 25.5 inches (68 centimeters) long and had developed the giant panda’s distinctive black spots.

Its home will be at the National Zoo for two years before it is returned to China, zoo officials have said.

The cub’s mother, seven-year-old giant panda Mei Xiang, whose name means beautiful fragrance, was artificially inseminated in March with sperm from seven-year-old Tian Tian. The pair are on a 10-year loan from China that began in 2000.

The name Tai Shan was among five names offered to online voters, including Long Shan, meaning “dragon mountain,” Qiang Qiang meaning “strong, powerful,” and Hua Sheng or Sheng Hua, meaning, respectively, “China Washington” and ‘Washington China,” which also translates into “magnificent.”

The five options were selected by the China Wildlife Conservation Association and the National Zoo staff.


* Name: Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)
* Primary Classification: Ursidae (Bears)
* Location: The Sichuan, Gansu and Shanxi provinces in central China.
* Habitat: Temperate bamboo forests.
* Diet: Bamboo, almost exclusively.
* Size: Up to 6 ft in length and 250 lbs in weight.
* Description: Black fur on ears, eye patches, muzzle, legs and shoulders; white fur everywhere else; thick, woolly coat; broad, round face and flat nose; large molars; round, protruding ears; round body with short, sturdy limbs.
* Cool Facts: Mothers will eat their cubs’ stools to eliminate any evidence of their presence, thereby avoiding potential predators. They need to eat more than 22 lbs of bamboo per day to satisfy their daily requirement of nutrients.
* Conservation Status: Endangered
* Major Threat: Habitat loss and poaching.
* What Can I Do?: Visit Pandas International, Smithsonian’s National Zoo and The Hong Kong Society for Panda Conservation for information on how you can help.

Picture(s): AP Photo/Smithsonian’s National Zoo |

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