Giant panda cub delights fans at Smithsonian's National Zoo

Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News
Yahoo News

Bao Bao, the giant panda cub at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is a popular attraction — so popular that zoo officials have been forced to limit the panda house exhibit to one-way foot traffic to control the crowds hoping to catch a glimpse of the 8-month-old cub.

One lucky visitor, Joey Tu, captured some amazing footage of Bao Bao last month (see above).

The baby panda, who was allowed outside for the first time on April 1, has been going outside regularly with her mom, Mei Xiang, exploring and climbing trees "without hesitation," zoo officials say.

They report Bao Bao has even "started tasting more foods aside from sweet potato. Keepers have started giving her mini fruitsicles — small versions of the frozen fruit-filled treats Mei Xiang and Tian Tian receive. Bao Bao enjoys them, but so does Mei. She usually helps Bao Bao finish the last bites."

Tu says he's been visiting the zoo every day to film the baby panda.

“There are always adorable comments in the background by the children visiting," Tu said.

Can't make it to the zoo to see Bao Bao in person? As has become common practice at zoos around the country, Bao Bao's handlers have set up two "Giant Panda Cams" that stream live footage for Internet users from the panda habitat.

The trio of giant pandas are part of the Smithsonian's conservation efforts for endangered species. According to China's Wildlife Conservation Association, there are as few as 1,600 giant pandas alive in the wild — most in mountain forests of central China. More than 300 pandas live in zoos and breeding centers around the world.

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