Panda Cub Makes Long-Awaited Debut at Vienna Zoo

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Meet Austria's newest attraction: Fu Long, a five-month-old panda.

Crowds of curious onlookers and journalists flocked to Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo Wednesday to catch their first glimpse of the cub, whose name means "Lucky Dragon" in Chinese.

Zoo officials, noting that Fu Long sleeps about 18 hours a day, could not give an exact time for his long-awaited appearance.

But, in the early afternoon — there he was.

Click here for photos.

After a brief in and out, Fu Long reappeared from his nesting box to gingerly explore the interior compound of the panda enclosure, even climbing a log and falling over from time to time as he struggled to stand.

For many the spectacle was worth the wait.

"He's so sweet, cute and clumsy," said Bettina Csenesits, a 21-year-old Vienna student, clutching a camera. "I've always been a total panda fan."

Fu Long, who was conceived naturally, was born on Aug. 23. He currently weighs 7 1/2 kilograms (16.5 pounds) and measures about 75 centimeters (29.5 inches), according to keeper Eveline Dungl.

While he has featured prominently in the press, Fu Long has been a bit of a hermit.

A naming ceremony in December attended by a Chinese delegation and Austria's foreign minister, Ursula Plassnik, took place without the guest of honor.

When 2008 rolled around and there was still no sign of the cub, the zoo issued a statement assuring an anxious public that he was "completely healthy" and that all was well.

Zoo director Dagmar Schratter said Fu Long was starting to develop a distinct pattern of activity, adding he was busiest at night.

"He's a night owl," Schratter told Associated Press Television News.

Fu Long was born 127 days after his mother, Yang Yang, mated with Long Hui. Both have been on loan from China since 2003 and seemed rather relaxed Wednesday, munching on bamboo while the public waited for their offspring.

To Dungl, they are an exemplary couple.

"They like to sit next to each other, to eat next to each other, to play with each other ... they are a very special pair of pandas," Dungl told APTN.