National Zoo holds giant panda cub-naming online poll

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The Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is ready to name its newest giant panda cub – and wants people to help choose.

Panda Mei Xiang gave birth to the male cub in August, and the zoo has shared regular updates on its Panda Cam over the past 12 weeks so patrons could watch the cub grow. The cub having remained nameless, the zoo now wants the public to vote on a name for him.

Between Nov. 16 and Nov. 20, people can choose from one of four Mandarin Chinese names and cast their vote once per day on the zoo’s website.

The 12-week-old male cub was born in August to its mother Mei Xiang.
(Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute)

The names are Fu Zai, translated as “prosperous boy”; Xiao Qi ji, or “little miracle”; Xing Fu, or “happy and prosperous”; and Zai Zai, a Mandarin Chinese nickname for a boy. Audio files with pronunciations for each name are on the site.

Officials will reveal the name that garnered the most votes on Nov. 23.

“The birth of this cub, and watching him grow, has offered the world a much-needed moment of joy during the pandemic,” the zoo wrote on its webpage.

Giant pandas are considered “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. The World Wildlife Fund estimates there are only 1,800 pandas remaining in the wild.

Pandas have been notoriously difficult for zoos to breed in captivity. Mei Xiang was impregnated with artificial insemination.

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This is the fourth time Mei Xiang has successfully given birth to a cub. Her three prior cubs, Tai Shan, Bao Bao and Bei Bei, were sent to China at age 4 per an agreement with the Chinese government, Fox News previously reported. The most recent, Bei Bei, left the zoo in November 2019.

Fox News' James Leggate contributed to this report.

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