Panda cub Xiao Qi Ji at National Zoo in DC reaches another milestone


Just like a human toddler, the huge panda cub at the Nationwide Zoo is achieving his milestones.

The newest: making ready to a single working day have his possess spot.

Xiao Qi Ji, now 2 years outdated, has started checking out a new habitat space at the Northwest Washington zoo in which he could sometime live on his personal, zookeepers reported. He has been dwelling with his mother, Mei Xiang, in an enclosure in one particular section of the panda spot his father, Tian Tian, life in one more nearby. Pandas eventually live solitary lives, authorities noted, and so it was time for Xiao Qi Ji to undertaking out.

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Xiao Qi Ji is coming “of the age to ‘move’ absent from his mother and go dwell on his individual,” Pamela Baker-Masson, a spokeswoman for the zoo, wrote in an e mail. “He will changeover to the new yard,” Baker-Masson reported, and keepers will check out the pandas for “cues as to when the ‘separation’ has taken position.”

Xiao Qi Ji went into the new area with his mother and showed “no hesitation” in checking out the space, keepers at the Smithsonian’s Nationwide Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute reported in a statement very last week.

Keepers viewed Xiao Qi Ji’s actions closely to make absolutely sure he was not intimidated and still ate, slept and played easily. The young panda remaining his scent, ran, climbed trees, and checked out the waterfalls, sights and new smells.

His mother sat fortunately close by, munching on bamboo. Sometimes, Xiao Qi Ji stopped exploring and ate around his mother. Other occasions, he rested close to her as she ate, or the two played with each other. Xiao Qi Ji also figured out that he can “interact with his keepers by way of the glass when they are on their way” to the nearby pink panda show, zookeepers stated.

Xiao Qi Ji was born in August 2020, at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, becoming the 1st giant panda cub in 5 a long time at the D.C. zoo. At the time of his start, mom Mei Xiang was 22 yrs old, making her the oldest huge panda to give beginning in the United States.

Mei Xiang experienced earlier had pregnancy difficulties, together with five bogus pregnancies all through a five-yr time period just after offering start in 2005. In 2012, she was artificially inseminated soon after unsuccessful natural breeding with Tian Tian and became the to start with large panda in the country to give birth following the use of frozen semen, gurus explained. But that 2012 cub died six days later.

Huge pandas arrived to the zoo 50 years back and adjusted D.C. endlessly

Xiao Qi Ji’s title, Mandarin Chinese for “little wonder,” was chosen in a public naming contest several months soon after his 2020 beginning. The identify reflects the “extraordinary instances below which he was born” and celebrated “the collaboration concerning colleagues who try to preserve this species,” zoo officials reported at the time.

China owns and leases all huge pandas in U.S. zoos.

Pandas have long had a significant next at the Countrywide Zoo, which this calendar year celebrated the 50-year anniversary of the arrival of its first huge pandas. All 3 of its latest big pandas — Xiao Qi Ji, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian — are established to go to China at the close of 2023.

Just one of Mei Xiang’s cubs, the wildly well known Tai Shan, was flown to China in 2010, as part of a breeding program. Another, Bei Bei, departed in 2019.

From 2015: D.C.’s favourite panda celebrates 10th birthday in China

As Xiao Qi Ji gets far more acclimated to his new location, keepers reported, the zoo will have far more versatility to go all a few pandas about.

Keepers reported they assume it will take more time in the new space in advance of Xiao Qi Ji finds his beloved location to hang out in, as huge pandas ordinarily do. For now, gurus explained Xiao Qi Ji is displaying all the normal behaviors of having fun with his new space as he wanders independently from his indoor house to his new outside place.

Nevertheless, zookeepers stated they have no designs to separate Xiao Qi Ji from his mom straight away. In the wild and in zoos, most panda cubs are weaned in between 18 months and 2 years of age.