January 7, 2014 in Nation/World

National Zoo panda cub Bao Bao readies for debut

Associated Press
Associated Press photo

Bao Bao, the 4 1/2-month-old giant panda, makes her public debut at an indoor habitat at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., on Monday.
(Full-size photo)

WASHINGTON – Bao Bao, the giant panda cub at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, is getting used to seeing fans outside her panda house enclosure as she prepares for her public debut this month. Bao Bao had a tryout Monday in front of the media.

After waking up in her exhibit around 8 a.m., she spent the morning crawling, climbing, following mother Mei Xiang and poking her head over rocks to a chorus of camera clicks.

For the most part, Bao Bao is oblivious to all the commotion but aware people are around, panda curator Brandie Smith said.

“She’s got a great disposition. She doesn’t even seem to notice the folks who are watching her, her adoring public,” Smith said.

“Her focus is mostly on Mom right now.”

Bao Bao will make her public debut Jan. 18 and may be visible inside or outside, depending on the weather and her mother’s choices for any given day.

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