The National Zoo's youngest panda cub is proving bright lights, cameras and media attention do not phase him. While handlers were expecting Bei Bei to be a little anxious as he made his first media appearance, he quickly fell asleep on an examining table.
"I'm very proud of him," said panda biologist Laurie Thompson. "Obviously, he wasn't too bothered by all the people here. This is just the beginning for him as far as people go."
The cub is slated to make a few appearances before selected audiences ahead of his public debut on Jan. 16, when the panda house at the National Zoo will reopen. That's when handlers expect that Bei Bei will be sure enough on his feet to begin exploring his outdoor habitat for the first time.
He's one of four pandas at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. Bei Bei joins his mother, Mei Xiang, father, Tian Tian, and two-year-old sister, Bao Bao. The pandas are part of an exchange program with China. After they turn four, Bao Bao and then Bei Bei will return to China and join the breeding program there.Read more on WashingtonExaminer.com