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#PandaStory: Xiao Qi Ji Takes His First Steps

  • Three-month-old giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji on Dec. 2, 2020 at Smithsonian's National Zoo.
  • Three-month-old giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji on Dec. 2, 2020 at Smithsonian's National Zoo.
  • Three-month-old giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji on Dec. 2, 2020 at Smithsonian's National Zoo.

If you tuned in to the Giant Panda Cam on Thanksgiving, you may have spotted a very special moment. At 3 months and 5 days old, Xiao Qi Ji took his first steps! That morning, he rested just outside the den while his mother Mei Xiang slept inside. After months of practice, he positioned all four feet beneath him and took a few wobbly steps toward her before toppling over. This is a big milestone for our little cub, and we are thrilled to share it with his fans all over the world! Since then, we see Xiao Qi Ji practicing his walking skills from time to time in the mornings, when Mei Xiang brings him from the den into their large indoor enclosures.

On Dec. 2, our giant panda team took some quick measurements to track Xiao Qi Ji’s growth. During the exam, he was bright-eyed and eager to practice his crawling and walking skills on the tabletop. He would not sit still on the scale, so we placed him in a tub to ensure we recorded an accurate weight. Xiao Qi Ji is making good gains and weighed 12.4 pounds (5.66 kilograms) on Wednesday. From the tip of his nose to the base of his tail, he measured 25.6 inches (65 centimeters). He has also put over an inch on his midsection since his last veterinary exam Nov. 18. Back then, he measured 18.1 inches around his abdomen. Now, he measures 19.2 inches (49 centimeters).  

This story appears in the Dec. 4 issue of the Giant Panda Bulletin. Read previous cub updates here. Please note that the Zoo is temporarily closed as a public health precaution to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.