From the time our giant panda cub, Xiao Qi Ji, was 6 months old, he has been a very good listener. Now, at 15 months old, he regularly responds to keepers. When it is time for us to put more food in his outdoor habitat, we call the bears’ names so they know it’s time to come inside. Often, Xiao Qi Ji climbs down a tree or runs from the front of the habitat to see what treats keepers might have in store for him.
As keeper Mariel Lally mentioned in her last update, Xiao Qi Ji takes mealtime very seriously. Although he receives his own diet every day, we still see him sneak some food that was meant for his mother, Mei Xiang, from time to time. He is quite a clever boy and will steal her apple or carrot, then run to the top of the rockwork or into the den to eat it!
Thanks to his healthy appetite, Xiao Qi Ji has been growing steadily. Recently, he weighed-in at 82.5 pounds—10.5 pounds more than last month. We help him keep physically active by offering him a variety of enrichment to investigate—like a tub filled with toys and non-toxic bubble bath.
“Winter” came a little early to the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat this year, care of our Department of Nutrition Science. Our commissary team provided us with a pallet of ice for all three pandas to play in. Like Mei Xiang and his father, Tian Tian, Xiao Qi Ji seems to be a big fan of the cold stuff. He had a blast conquering the ice “mountain” and even did some sledding!