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National Zoo panda cub named Xiao Qi Ji or ‘Little Miracle’

UPDATED: Mon., Nov. 23, 2020

Panda cub Xiao Qi Ji is seen in Washington, D.C.  (HONS)
Panda cub Xiao Qi Ji is seen in Washington, D.C. (HONS)
By Ashraf Khalili Associated Press Associated Press

WASHINGTON – More than three months after his birth, the National Zoo’s new panda cub finally has a name.

Officials at the Smithsonian, which runs the zoo, announced Monday that the cub born Aug. 21 would be named Xiao Qi Ji, which is Mandarin Chinese for “little miracle.”

The choice was the result of a five-day online poll that drew nearly 135,000 voters to choose between different Mandarin Chinese names. In a nod to Chinese tradition, the name was not chosen until 100 days after the birth.

Monday’s announcement came on the day the zoo shut its doors to the public for the second time this year due to the the COVID-19 pandemic. Smithsonian officials announced last week the zoo and the seven museums that had been operating at limited capacity would all shut down indefinitely as the virus continues to spike locally and around the country.

That makes the zoo’s popular panda-cam the only way to view the baby bear, who doctors say is up to 10.4 pounds and starting to crawl.

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