DC's Newest Panda Cub Receives Name

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By Traci G. Lee

The Smithsonian's National Zoo revealed the name of its newest panda cub Friday morning with the help of First Lady Michelle Obama and First Lady of the People’s Republic of China, Peng Liyuan.

Bei Bei, born August 22, is Mandarin for "precious, treasure," and is "complementary to his sister's name, Bao Bao," according to the zoo.

"We are honored to have First Lady Michelle Obama and First Lady Peng Liyuan join us to celebrate the more than four-decade history of China and the Smithsonian working together to preserve giant pandas, and to name the newest addition to our panda family," Smithsonian Secretary David J. Skorton said.

Keepers had an opportunity to weigh the 4.5 week-old giant panda cub yesterday, Sept. 21, when Mei Xiang left her den to eat. He weighs 2.95 pounds (1,339 grams) and has now surpassed both of his older siblings in size when they were the same age.Smithsonian's National Zoo

Bei Bei was one of two cubs born to mother Mei Xiang in August. The second cub died four days after its birth.

The visit to the zoo is part of Chinese President Xi Jinping and First Lady Peng Liyuan's first trip to the United States since Xi became China's leader. The two will attend a state dinner at the White House Friday night.