Smithsonian’s National Zoo announces panda’s name following public vote


WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s 3-month-old panda received its name Monday.

The panda was named Xiao Qi Ji, which translates as “little miracle” in English. It’s one of four Mandarin Chinese names that were offered for a public vote online this month.

More than 130,000 votes were cast from Nov. 16 to Nov. 20 on the zoo’s website.

According to the National Zoo, his name reflects the extraordinary circumstances under which he was born and celebrates the collaboration between colleagues who strive to conserve this species.

“Connecting people around the world with nature, whether in person or in this virtual setting, is a cornerstone of our mission to conserve and protect giant pandas for future generations,” Steve Monfort, the zoo’s director, said in a statement. “Like many who have followed our giant panda cub since his birth last summer, I tune into the Giant Panda Cam from time to time. Watching Xiao Qi Ji always puts a smile on my face. We are grateful that those who share in our joy have helped us pick the perfect name for our panda cub.”

Xiao Qi Ji was born on Aug. 21. His birth was streamed live on the zoo’s Giant Panda Cam, and since then more than 1.5 million virtual visitors have tuned in to watch him grow.

Under an agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association, all cubs born at the Washington, D.C. zoo will move to China when they’re 4 years old.

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is temporarily closed to the public due to COVID-19.

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