Washington D.C. – The baby panda Bao Bao, born in captivity a little less than five months ago, was presented Saturday at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington to all who came to see its newest denizen.
Dozens of people waited in line from as early as 6:00 a.m. to see the debut of Bao Bao, born of the giant panda Mei Xiang, which had previously made several unsuccessful attempts to conceive a cub.
Since 2005, the Washington zoo had not seen the successful birth of a panda, so now the newcomer is attracting crowds of visitors and has led to visiting hours being extended from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. until next Monday.
Bao Bao was born Aug. 23, now weighs some 9 kilos (20 pounds), and is very healthy despite the frosty temperatures in the U.S. capital.
The artificial habitat of pandas in the National Zoo has been closed to the public for six months, and a lot of fans waited impatiently for it to reopen.
The natural habitat of giant pandas is in the mountains and leafy bamboo groves of central China, where an estimated 1,600 specimens still live. Another 300 live in captivity in zoos around the world.
Scientists believe that pandas live longer in captivity but are less fertile, making the success rate for the conception of cubs lower than it is in the wild.