Tags: baobao | baby | panda | outside

Bao Bao: DC Zoo's Baby Panda Ventures Outside for First Time

Wednesday, 02 Apr 2014 02:27 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Bao Bao, the 7-month-old baby panda at Washington D.C.'s National Zoo, made her outside debut on Tuesday, spending approximately two hours with her mother Mei Xiang in the panda enclosure where she climbed a tree and rolled about on a patch of grass.

The outdoor excursion occurred after zookeepers "cub-proofed" the panda yard, placing collars on trees to prevent the cub from climbing too high while also trimming tree branches and spreading out bales of hay to cushion the cub's falls, The Associated Press reported.

"She was a little apprehensive in the first few minutes, but once Mei Xiang, her mom, came a little bit closer and she realized where her mom was, she made that connection," zookeeper Juan Rodriguez told ABC News' D.C. affiliate WJLA.

"We put some extra hay out there just in case she decided to go out a little farther on the rock work, and if she did fall, she would fall on a big pile of hay, so we made sure that all the area was sort of 'baby-proof,' if you will," Rodriguez added.

Born on Aug. 23, 2013, Bao Bao's name translates into "treasure" or "precious."

The panda had remained inside in part due to weather conditions, with zookeepers only allowing her outside this week so long as the temperature remained above 35 degrees and there was no possibility of rain or snow.

Since pandas first arrived at the National Zoo in 1972 following President Richard Nixon's historic visit to China, Bao Bao is just the second surviving cub born at the facility, Britain's Daily Mail reported.

The other panda born in the National Zoo was Bao Bao's older brother named Tai Shan, who was born to Mei Xiang and Tian Tian – the father of both cubs. Tai Shan is presently in China where he has reportedly been entered into a breeding program.

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