Giant panda Update Apr 21, 2014

It's been a busy few weeks at the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat. Bao Bao is now going outside with Mei Xiang regularly in the morning. She has been busy exploring, and Smithsonian Channel captured her first attempt at climbing a tree. Now she climbs high in the trees in Mei Xiang's yard without any hesitation, which is exactly what giant panda cubs would do in the wild. As with any new climber, she's had a few falls, but panda cubs are built to withstand them and Bao Bao is no exception. In addition to the keepers, Mei also has an ever watchful eye on her cub and is always ready to help if Bao Bao needs her. Part of going outside is learning to come back inside. But Bao Bao has not quite mastered shifting back inside at the end of the day. Sometimes she follows Mei straight inside and other times she chooses to stay up in the trees.

Bao Bao may not be shifting inside like an adult panda yet, but she started tasting more foods aside from sweet potato. Keepers have started giving her mini fruitsicles—small versions of the frozen fruit-filled treats Mei Xiang and Tian Tian recieve. Bao Bao enjoys them, but so does Mei. She usually helps Bao Bao finish the last bites of her fruitsicles.