Bei Bei

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Bei Bei
Bei Bei during his public debut on January 16, 2016.
SpeciesGiant panda
Born (2015-08-22) August 22, 2015 (age 6)
National Zoological Park, Washington, D.C. United States
ResidenceBifengxia Panda Base, Ya'an, China
Parent(s)Mei Xiang, Tian Tian
Weight240 lb (109 kg) (as of November 21, 2019)
Named afterTreasure

Bei Bei (/b b/ BAY BAY; Chineset , s , p Bèibèi) is a male giant panda cub who was born and lived at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., in the United States. He was part of US-China relations panda diplomacy, and was sent to the People's Republic of China on November 19, 2019 at the age of 4. He is currently at the Ya’an Bifengxia Base of the Giant Panda Conservation and Research Center in southwest Sichuan province.[1] He is the brother of Tai Shan, Bao Bao, and Xiao Qi Ji.


Bei Bei was born on August 22, 2015 at 10:07 PM, together with a twin who was born at 5:35 PM that died from pneumonia 4 days after their birth. His mother is Mei Xiang.[2][3][4] His father, via artificial insemination, is National Zoo panda Tian Tian.[5] As of October 7, 2015 he weighed 5 lbs (1.8 kg).[6] As of November 21, 2019, he weighed 240 pounds (108 kg).[1]


On September 25, 2015, five weeks after the birth of the baby panda, he was named "Bei Bei" by Michelle Obama and Peng Liyuan, the first ladies of the United States and the People's Republic of China, respectively. The name was selected from a list of suggestions by officials from the National Zoo and the Wolong National Nature Reserve in China's Sichuan Province. The National Zoo preferred the name Ping Ping (, "peace"), while "Bei Bei" was the staff choice at Wolong;[3][7] doubled names are usually chosen because they are diminutive in Chinese. The first ladies revealed the name in both English and Mandarin, assisted by third-grade students from a Chinese-immersion elementary school in Washington, D.C. The name means "precious" or "treasure", the same as his 2-year-old sister Bao Bao.[2] Zoo director Dennis Kelly admitted that the name is likely to give rise to jokes and wordplay linking the name to "baby".[4]

Before the naming ceremony, Kelly said, "It's a very exciting day because it celebrates more than four decades of research and success on the giant panda, and to have it recognized by the two first ladies is an honor."[7]

Bei Bei at the National Zoo, November 2017


Bei Bei made his first public viewing on January 16, 2016.[8] After 3 and a half years viewed at the zoo, the panda was sent to China to participate in a breeding program.[9] On Tuesday, November 19, 2019, Bei Bei departed the National Zoo with veterinarian, Dr. Donald Neiffer, and his life-long keeper Laurie Thompson on the FedEx Panda Express to China. He landed in Chengdu, China on Wednesday, November 20, 2019, and spent 30 days in quarantine before moving to the Chengdu Panda bases.


  1. ^ a b "US-born Bei Bei settles into new home at Chinese panda base". WTOP. November 21, 2019. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "US and China first ladies name US panda cub Bei Bei". BBC News.
  3. ^ a b "Aww! Panda Cub Bei Bei Is a 'Precious Treasure'".
  4. ^ a b Julia Zorthian. "Panda Cub Named Bei Bei at National Zoo". Time.
  5. ^ "'It's a boy!' the National Zoo says of surviving giant panda cub". Washington Post. August 28, 2015. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
  6. ^ "Panda cub Bei Bei at National Zoo opens eyes at just under 7 weeks old". ABC-7 News. October 7, 2015. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Michael E. Ruane (September 25, 2015). "National Zoo's giant panda cub is officially named Bei Bei". The Washington Post.
  8. ^ "National Zoo's giant panda cub makes debut". CNN.
  9. ^ "First ladies reveal panda cub name: Bei Bei". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Archived from the original on September 27, 2015.

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