National Zoo's Panda Cub Is Stepping Out

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Bao Bao, the National Zoo's 7-month-old panda cub took her first walk outside today, accompanied by mother Mei Xiang (may-SHONG). The two explored an outdoor yard where visitors may be able to see the cub starting around 8 a.m. each day -- if Bao Bao is feeling outdoorsy.

"While Mei munched on bamboo, Bao Bao tested out her climbing skills on one of the smaller trees," the zoo said in a release.

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Panda cubs are often adventurous climbers, so the zoo staff put collars on trees in the yard, trimmed some tree limbs and placed hay bails to cushion any panda tumbles.

"She even took a cue from Mei and sat down in the grass with a piece of bamboo mimicking her mom eating," the zoo reported. "After about two hours Bao Bao went back inside and slept for a few hours."

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Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated with sperm from the zoo's panda male, Tian Tian. The 15-year-old giant female panda gave birth to Bao Bao -- the name means translates to “treasure” or “precious” -- on Aug. 23, 2013.

Photo: Young Bao Bao makes her first trip outside with mother Mei Xiang. Credit: The Smithsonian National Zoo

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