100-Day-Old Panda Cub Awaits Name

A caretaker holds the 100-day-old panda cub during his 12th exam Tuesday, Nov. 6. (Image credit: San Diego Zoo)

The newest giant panda cub at the San Diego Zoo is now 100 days old, which means it's time to name him.

The cub was born on July 29, but the zoo has held off on naming him in keeping with a Chinese tradition. Nearly 35,000 votes were cast to decide on one of six suggested names for the panda: Qi Ji (Miracle), Yu Di (Raindrop), Da Hai (Big Ocean or Big Sea), Xiao Liwu (Little Gift), Yong Er (Brave Son) or Shui Long (Water Dragon).

The poll is now closed, and the zoo plans to announce the winning name in a ceremony on the morning of Nov. 13.

At his latest checkup Tuesday (Nov. 6), the cub weighed in at 9.2 pounds (4.1 kilograms) and measured 23 inches (58 centimeters) long from nose to tail. Caretakers say the little panda's development is right on track.

"He's really focusing with his eyes right now," said Matt Kinney, a veterinarian at the San Diego Zoo. "You can tell that he'll get fixated on one person or one object on the [exam] floor."

Last week, the zoo reported that the panda was starting to push up on all four legs, moving beyond crawling and getting closer to walking. In September the little one gained limited vision, and then in October, the cub began sprouting its baby teeth.

The cub's mom, Bai Yun (White Cloud), has given birth to five other cubs at the San Diego Zoo. Four of those offspring were moved to China to join the country's giant panda conservation and breeding program, while her son Yun Zi (Son of Cloud) remains at the zoo.

Researchers estimate only 1,600 giant pandas are left in the wild, and scientists maintain that captive breeding is an important way for them to study and conserve the endangered species. In fact, just last week China announced the birth of seven new panda cubs this year at the world's largest giant panda reserve, the Chengdu Panda Base. Another panda cub from a Chengdu Panda Base mom was born in Japan. The names of those furballs: Oreo, Xiao Qiao, Si Yi, Yuan Run, Miao Miao, You Bin, and twins Cheng Shuang and Cheng Dui.

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