Panda Cub Romps in New Outdoor Digs

The planet's most famous panda cub moves into his leafy new pad.

By Alysia Gray Painter
|  Thursday, Jan 10, 2013  |  Updated 9:34 AM PDT
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Panda Cub Naming Ceremony

San Diego Zoo

Xiao Liwu, the San Diego Zoo's much-watched panda cub, makes his public debut in his new outdoor digs on Thursday, Jan. 10. Press got a playful preview on Wednesday, Jan. 9.

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What's the first thing you do when you move into a new place?

You might open all the closets or turn the faucets on and off, just to make sure the pipes are in good working order. But if you're a nearly six-month-old panda cub, and you're exploring your bamboo-laden outdoor habitat for the first time, you're apt to go the roly-poly, crowd-pleasing route.

And that's just what Xiao Liwu, the San Diego Zoo's furry but still elusive star, did on Wednesday, Jan. 9 when he first put his paws to earth in his new fresh-air play space. Media was on hand to catch the ooh-and-aah-heavy moment, a moment that included, of course Xiao Liwu's mother, Bai Yun.

There were some tumbles, as would be expected of a 16-pound panda cub (Xiao Liwu was 16 pounds at his exam last week, so he's likely a few ounces heavier by now). There was a whole lot of leaf-and-branch-biting action, too. He's a cub who knows how to work an adoring crowd.

And those adoring crowds are sure to grow when he makes his official public debut on Thursday, Jan. 10. Zoo staffers stress that Xiao Liwu's outdoor appearances will be up to his mother, and they may be brief and intermittent. But we bet the people who have been watching him grow via the zoo's popular YouTube videos will hang around for a sighting.

Not making it down for the debut? You can watch the live panda cam, or check out video of Xiao Liwu's adorable outdoor exploring on Jan. 9. If ever a being deserved that overused social media term "adorbs," it's little Xiao Liwu.

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