When Bei Bei was about 6 months old, keepers took him outside to a small, behind-the-scenes area to explore a light dusting of snow. The young panda cub wasn’t quite sure what to make of the cold, powdery snow and headed back inside quickly.
His first experience in the snow may have been tentative, but it’s clear that over the years Bei Bei has learned to love snow:
Ahead of the learning curve
Keepers train animals around the Zoo to voluntarily participate in their veterinary care. They start with simple behaviors, such as asking an animal to touch a target with its nose. Giant pandas eventually learn to put their arms in a sleeve and hold on to a bar so veterinarians can collect blood samples.
Bei Bei was an A+ student. He was just 13 months old when he participated in his first blood draw. Keepers gave him honey water, a favorite treat, and he had no trouble holding still for the procedure. “He was the youngest of our three cubs to accomplish this,” says assistant curator Laurie Thompson. Tai Shan and Bao Bao were about twice his age when they participated in their first blood draws.
Taking a tumble out of a tree
If you’ve watched Bei Bei explore his outdoor yard over the years, then you know he likes to climb trees. That interest has inevitably led to a few tumbles. Giant pandas are excellent climbers, but luckily, they’re also built to withstand falls.
On Bei Bei’s first adventure up a tree, Mei Xiang was close by to lend a helping paw. It didn’t take long for him to start climbing on his own. Since then, we’ve watched Bei Bei tumble out of many trees, only to get right back up and try again.