Bei Bei

Last updated

Bei Bei
Bei Bei -- Panda Cub at the National Zoo NW Washington DC Novembver 2017.jpg
Bei Bei at the National Zoo in November 2017.
Species Giant panda
Born (2015-08-22) August 22, 2015 (age 6)
National Zoological Park, Washington, D.C. United States
Residence Bifengxia Panda Base, Ya'an, China
Parent(s) Mei Xiang, Tian Tian
Weight240 lb (109 kg) (as of November 21, 2019)
Named afterTreasure

Bei Bei ( /bb/ BAYBAY; Chinese:  t   , 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 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.

Related Research Articles

Giant panda Species of bear

The giant panda, also known as the panda bear, is a bear species endemic to China. It is characterised by its bold black-and-white coat and rotund body. The name "giant panda" is sometimes used to distinguish it from the red panda, a neighboring musteloid. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the giant panda is a folivore, with bamboo shoots and leaves making up more than 99% of its diet. Giant pandas in the wild occasionally eat other grasses, wild tubers, or even meat in the form of birds, rodents, or carrion. In captivity, they may receive honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges, or bananas along with specially prepared food.

National Zoological Park (United States) Zoo in Washington, D.C., and Front Royal, Virginia

The National Zoological Park, commonly known as the National Zoo, is one of the oldest zoos in the United States. It is part of the Smithsonian Institution and does not charge admission. Founded in 1889, its mission is to "provide engaging experiences with animals and create and share knowledge to save wildlife and habitats".

Tai Shan (giant panda)

Tai Shan is a giant panda born at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. on July 9, 2005. He is the first panda cub born at the National Zoo to survive for more than a few days. He is the oldest brother of Bao Bao, Bei Bei and Xiao Qi Ji.

Hua Mei

Hua Mei is a female giant panda. She is the first giant panda cub to survive to adulthood in the United States. She was born to Bai Yun (mother) and Shi Shi (father) at the San Diego Zoo. Millions of people around the world watched Hua Mei grow up via the zoo's Panda Cam.

Wolong National Nature Reserve

Wolong National Nature Reserve, also known as Wolong Special Administrative Region, is a protected area located in Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province, People's Republic of China. Established in 1963 with an initial size of about 20,000 hectares, the reserve was further expanded in 1975, covering an area of about 200,000 hectares in the Qionglai Mountains region. There are over 4,000 different species recorded in the reserve. According to China's Third National Giant Panda Survey, Wolong National Nature Reserve houses about 150 wild giant pandas. The reserve is also a home to many other endangered species including: snow leopards, red pandas, golden monkeys, white-lipped deer and many precious plants. Before the devastating 2008 Wenchuan earthquake Wolong received up to 200,000 visitors every year.

Mei Xiang Female giant panda

Mei Xiang is a female giant panda who lives at the National Zoo in Washington D.C.

Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing Pandas given to the US by China after Nixons 1972 visit

Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing were two giant pandas given to the United States as gifts by the government of China following President Richard Nixon's visit in 1972. As a gift, the U.S. government sent China a pair of musk oxen.

Tian Tian (male giant panda) Male giant panda

Tian Tian is a 275-pound male giant panda at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. The panda was born on August 27, 1997, at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda at the Wolong National Nature Reserve in Sichuan Province, to Yong Ba (mother) and Pan Pan (father). Tian Tian is the half-brother of Bai Yun, formerly at the San Diego Zoo.

Lun Lun

Lun Lun is a female giant panda at Zoo Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia. The panda, now 242 pounds (110 kg), was born at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China on August 25, 1997. Her original name, Hua Hua, was changed to Lun Lun by her sponsor, the Taiwanese rock star Su Huilun.

Bai Yun

Bai Yun was the first female giant panda who was born at the Wolong Giant Panda Research Center in China. From September 1996 she lived at the San Diego Zoo for more than 20 years, until being returned to China in May 2019. Bai Yun gave birth to her sixth cub in 2012 since arriving at the San Diego Zoo, considered the most surviving pandas born at a breeding facility outside of native China. Bai Yun returned to China with her last-born as the 23-year conservation loan of the pandas came to an end between China and San Diego Zoo Global.

Mei Sheng is a male giant panda born at the San Diego Zoo. He is the second panda to be born at the zoo and is the first offspring of Bai Yun and Gao Gao. He is the half-brother of Hua Mei and the brother of Su Lin, Zhen Zhen, Yun Zi, and Xiao Liwu.

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, or simply Chengdu Panda Base, is a non-profit research and breeding facility for giant pandas and other rare animals. It is located in Chengdu, Sichuan, China.

Xi Lan is a male giant panda cub currently residing in Chengdu, China at the research Base. He is the son and second offspring of Lun Lun and Yang Yang. He is the brother of Mei Lan, who was born at Zoo Atlanta in 2006; Po, born at Zoo Atlanta on November 3, 2010; twins Mei Lun and Mei Huan, born at Zoo Atlanta on July 15, 2013; and twins Ya Lun and Xi Lun, born at Zoo Atlanta on September 3, 2016.

Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan

Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan are two giant pandas that were sent by the People's Republic of China to Taiwan in 2008 as part of an exchange program. The exchange idea was first proposed in 2005, but the previous administration in Taiwan had refused to accept the pandas. After elections that resulted in a change of presidents in 2008, the Taiwanese government accepted the pandas, and they arrived on December 23, 2008. The two names were selected by a vote in the PRC and their combination, Tuan Yuan, means "reunion" in Chinese. The pandas are housed at Taipei Zoo and have been exhibited to the public since the 2009 Chinese New Year.

Bifengxia Panda Base Zoo in Sichuan, China

Bifengxia Giant Panda Base is a giant panda research and breeding facility in Bifengxia Town, Ya'an, Sichuan, China. Since opening in 2004, it has become home to several more giant pandas. This includes the U.S.-born Hua Mei and Mei Sheng, who were relocated there after the May 12, 2008, Sichuan earthquake severely damaged the panda breeding center at the Wolong National Nature Reserve. Both facilities are managed by the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda.

Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui

Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui are two giant pandas from Sichuan, China on loan to Chiang Mai Zoo in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Bao Bao Female giant panda (born 2013)

Bao Bao is a female giant panda cub who was born at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. She lived at the Zoo for four years until February 2017. She is currently located at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Sichuan Province. She is the sister of Tai Shan, Bei Bei and Xiao Qi Ji.

As of 2019, there are 26 zoos in 20 countries outside of mainland China that have giant pandas. These zoos have contracts with China to house these pandas for a few years. An exception are the four pandas held at Taipei Zoo, which are owned by the Taiwanese government. Giant pandas are on the IUCN Red List so part of the reason these contracts exist between China and international zoos is to try to help the species reproduce before they are brought back to their native land. For this reason, pandas are treated very well.

Xiao Qi Ji Panda cub born at National Zoo, Washington, D.C.

Xiao Qi Ji is a male giant panda cub who was born at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. on 21 August 2020. The fourth surviving cub of Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, Xiao Qi Ji is a result of an artificial insemination of Mei Xiang on March 22, 2020. Xiao Qi Ji is the youngest brother of Tai Shan, Bao Bao and Bei Bei.


  1. 1 2 "US-born Bei Bei settles into new home at Chinese panda base". WTOP. November 21, 2019. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  2. 1 2 "US and China first ladies name US panda cub Bei Bei". BBC News.
  3. 1 2 "Aww! Panda Cub Bei Bei Is a 'Precious Treasure'".
  4. 1 2 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. 1 2 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.