San Diego Zoo Announces Panda Cub's Name: Xiao Liwu, or Little Gift

Under Chinese tradition, cubs are named after they reach the 100-day mark

By Melissa Pamer
|  Tuesday, Nov 13, 2012  |  Updated 3:51 PM PDT
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Baby Panda Makes Zoo Debut

The San Diego Zoo's 15-week-old cub's name was unveiled Tuesday: Xiao Liwu, which means Little Gift.

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San Diego Zoo Gives 12th Exam to Baby Panda

The San Diego Zoo released this footage of its 12th weekly exam of still unnamed giant panda cub, who had turned 100 days old. The exam took place Nov. 6. The cub's name was set to announced a week later, on Nov 13. Video courtesy San Diego Zoo.
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The San Diego Zoo on Tuesday revealed the name of its 15-week-old giant panda cub: Xiao Liwu, which means Little Gift.

By Chinese tradition, giant pandas are not named until they have been alive for 100 days. The announcement was made at the zoo's Hunte Amphitheater on Xiao Liwu's 107th day alive.

The finalists for the cub's name, culled from more than 7,000 suggestions received in September, were:

  • Qi Ji, which means Miracle;
  • Yu Di, which means Raindrop;
  • Da Hai, which means Big Ocean or Big Sea;
  • Xiao Liwu, which means Little Gift;
  • Yong Er, which means Brave Son; and
  • Shui Long, which means Water Dragon.

Nearly 35,000 visitors to the zoo's website late last month voted to choose a name, and the one with the most votes won.

According to the zoo, Xiao Liwu is pronounced "sshyaoww (falling then rising tone) lee (falling then rising tone) woo (falling tone)."

Xiao Liwu was born to the zoo's Bai Yun on July 29 -- the famed mama's sixth cub -- and has become a tiny, furry celebrity.

Last week, the cub received his 12th weekly veterinary exam (as seen in video below) getting a clean bill of health. Doctors at the zoo said the 9.2-pound, 23-inch-long cub was "doing great."

He was pushing up onto all four legs, but wasn't quite walking yet, doctors said. His first teeth were getting ready to come through, and he was beginning to focus his eyes on people and things around him with recognition.

The San Diego Zoo is one of four in the U.S. that keep giant pandas for research purposes. Around 1,600 are believed to be left in the wild in their native China.

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