From newborn Bao Bao’s hearty squeal to Xiao Qi Ji’s belly-slide in the snow, the Giant Panda Cam—sponsored by Chase—has given people around the globe a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the bears that call the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute home. To celebrate 50 years of giant panda care, collaboration and conservation, we’ve curated a collection of cute Cam moments from the past decade that connected viewers with nature, sparked pure panda joy and broke the internet.
Aug. 23, 2013 | Bao Bao is Born
Witnessing a conservation success as rare as a giant panda birth—in real time, no less—makes the joyous event all the more special. In summer 2013, lucky Giant Panda Cam viewers watched Mei Xiang give birth to a bouncing baby Bao Bao. The cub’s first on-screen appearance happened in the blink of an eye, but her loud squeals confirmed that the “precious treasure” had arrived! Mother Mei Xiang gently picked up little Bao Bao—who was no bigger than a stick of butter—and immediately began cradling and caring for her.
Sept. 12, 2013 | A Sleepy Bao Bao
Giant panda moms spend most of their time cradling their cub in its first weeks of life. When a cub is 3 weeks old—as Bao Bao is here—it weighs about 1.5 pounds. In this video, Bao Bao is tucked between Mei Xiang’s arm and her chin. Thanks to the Giant Panda Cam, viewers could clearly see the cub as she snuggled with mom and gave an unbearably cute yawn.
Jan. 12, 2014 | Bao Bao Bites Her Foot
While entertaining herself in the den, 4.5-month-old Bao Bao took a nibble of her rear paw. Young panda cubs explore the world with their mouths. Often, they initiate play sessions with a few not-so-ferocious bites. They chomp on everything from their paws and enrichment toys to Mei Xiang’s ears!
Sept. 25, 2015 | Bei Bei Choo
The Giant Panda Cam offers a glimpse into the quieter moments of a day in the life of these beloved bears. Sometimes, it’s these small moments that spark the most joy—like the time Bei Bei’s peaceful slumber was briefly interrupted by a surprising sneeze!
Nov. 9, 2015 | Bei Bei’s First Steps
The first years of a giant panda’s life are a whirlwind of new experiences. Under mother Mei Xiang’s watchful eye, 2.5-month-old Bei Bei took his first steps. It was one small step for panda…one adorably wobbly moment for all of us!