culture

Panda cub born in US named ‘Little Miracle’

Photo: Giant panda cub Xiao Qiji.

Washington (People’s Daily) – After five days of voting and just under 135,000 votes, Xiao Qiji, which means “little miracle” in Chinese, on Monday became the name of the 3-month-old giant panda cub born in the US.

Photo: Giant panda cub Xiao Qiji and his mother Mei Xiang.

This is the latest progress in the joint research of giant pandas between China the US, bringing joy to fans in China and the US.

Cui Tiankai, the Chinese ambassador to the US, said that Xiao Qiji’s birth is a true miracle that has been so uplifting to all of us during the pandemic. “Both our American friends and people back in China care about him. We watch him on webcams, and get excited about his teething, practice of crawling and every step of his life. We are connected again in the growth of our little ambassador, and in our shared joy and friendship,” said Cui.

Photo: Giant panda cub Xiao Qiji and his mother Mei Xiang.

According the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, giant pandas are an international symbol of endangered wildlife and hope, and Xiao Qiji’s birth offered the world a much-needed moment of joy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Steve Monfort, John and Adrienne Mars director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, said this cub represents another achievement in their decades-long partnership with China Wildlife Conservation Association. He said the pandas are the symbol of partnership and friendship between China and the US.

Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington DC, said “We are so excited to have you (Xiao Qiji) as our neighbor in Washington DC. You are the cutest and most popular bear in the nation.”

Photo: Giant panda cub Xiao Qiji.

Xiao Qiji was born at the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat on 6:35 pm on August 21, to mother Mei Xiang and father Tian Tian. His birth was livestreamed on the zoo’s Giant Panda Cam, and since then more than 1.5 million virtual visitors have tuned in to watch him grow. Giant panda fans can see Xiao Qiji, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian via the Giant Panda Cam, one of five live animal webcams hosted on the zoo’s website.

However, the cooperative breeding agreement of panda between US National Zoo and China Wildlife Conservation Association will expire on December 7. Monfort said they want to extend the agreement and the zoo is currently discussing a potential extension of agreement with colleagues in China. “It is our hope that we will have these pandas for just a few more years,” said Monfort.

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