Baby Panda to Make Public Debut Thursday - NBC Southern California

Baby Panda to Make Public Debut Thursday

Xiao Liwu, born last year to Bai Yun, will enter the panda habitat and the public eye on Thursday



    Five-month-old giant panda Xiao Liwu will be unveiled to the public at the San Diego Zoo Thursday. On Wednesday, media got a preview of "Little Gift" trying out the enclosed panda habitat alongside his mother, Bai Yun. Raw video from Jan. 9, 2013. (Published Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013)

    The anticipation is almost too much to bear.

    The San Diego Zoo’s giant panda cub will finally make his debut to the public on Thursday after a 5-month-long wait, the zoo announced. 

    On Wednesday, members of the press were given a sneak peek of Xiao Liwu as he played in the public enclosure. He could be seen rummaging through bushes, climbing trees and snacking on treats scattered throughout the enclosure, alongside his mother, Bai Yun, as seen below.

    Though visitors to the zoo haven't been able to see him yet, his life is far from private. Animal-lovers around the world have watched him grow via the zoo's "Panda Cam" from a tiny bean-shaped speck resting on his mother to a rambunctious fluff ball crawling away from veterinarians at his routine exams. 

    San Diego Zoo Gives 12th Exam to Baby Panda

    [LA] 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.
    (Published Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012)

    "The Panda Team feels our 5-month-old cub has become confident enough to navigate around this large habitat while being admired by his adoring fans," said the zoo's blog moderator Debbie Andreen in post Monday.

    Zookeepers say Xiao Liwu is growing normally and showing more movement and activity than in past weeks. At his last exam, started venturing outside and showing more interest in his surroundings.

    WATCH: Baby Panda Takes First Steps

    [DGO] WATCH: Baby Panda Takes First Steps
    The San Diego Zoo's baby panda has taken its first steps. Video courtesy of the San Diego Zoo.
    (Published Friday, Oct. 19, 2012)

    On Thursday, the first dedicated viewers will be able to see him in the north exhibit. However, the exhibit will only be open from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. for the first few weeks so that Xiao Liwu can get used to his new life in the spotlight.  

    Also, since Xiao Liwu likes to hang out in the zoo's moat, he may not be entirely visible in those hours.

    For more on the exhibit and other animals at the zoo, click here.

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