Attention America: The National Zoo Wants You to Name the Baby Panda

Does the little cub look like a Bao Bao, or more like a Mulan?

The National Zoo's yet-unnamed baby panda is looking flufflier than she did before the government shutdown began.
National Journal
Marina Koren
Nov. 5, 2013, 9:56 a.m.

When the gov­ern­ment shut­down ended and the Smith­so­ni­an Na­tion­al Zoo’s an­im­al cams came back on­line, real-time video of the town’s fam­ous baby gi­ant panda soothed thou­sands of frazzled Amer­ic­ans. Now, it’s time for the little cub to get a name.

It is tra­di­tion for zoos to name gi­ant panda cubs when they are 100 days old. The Na­tion­al Zoo has en­trus­ted the Amer­ic­an pub­lic with this task, of­fer­ing five op­tions for vot­ing here. The poll gives mean­ings for each name, as well as clips for prop­er pro­nun­ci­ation.

The names — Bao Bao, Ling Hua, Long Yun, Mu­lan and Zhen Bao — were sub­mit­ted by a group of people in­volved in a con­ser­va­tion­ist re­search part­ner­ship between the United States and China. It in­cludes Gary Locke, the U.S. am­bas­sad­or to China, his Chinese coun­ter­part Cui Tiankai, and the cub’s keep­ers at the Na­tion­al Zoo, as well as her fu­ture keep­ers at Wo­long Na­tion­al Nature Re­serve in China, where she will move in four years.

The win­ning name will be an­nounced Dec. 1. Gi­ant panda Mei Xi­ang gave birth to the soon-to-be named cub on Aug. 23. She has grown fluf­fi­er and big­ger each day.