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Bao Bao the Baby Panda Gets Ready for Her Big Debut

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    NEWSLETTERS

    RAW VIDEO: Giant Panda Cub Bao Bao met the media Monday during an event at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. The general public will be able to see Bao Bao later this month. (Published Tuesday, Jan 7, 2014)

    The National Zoo's panda cub is getting ready for her close up. 

    Bao Bao will make her public debut later this month, but Monday, she had a test run with the media.

    The nearly 5-month-old cub spent the morning climbing on rocks and following her mother, Mei Xiang, around the indoor exhibit.

    "She's gone from kind of crawling to walking, and she's so playful, so energetic. She's such a great little girl," said senior curator Brandie Smith.

    Bao Bao Meets the Media

    [DC] Bao Bao Meets the Media
    The National Zoo's panda cub is getting ready for her close up. Bao Bao will make her public debut later this month. She had a tryout Monday in front of the media. (Published Monday, Jan 6, 2014)

    Curators say Bao Bao has turned out to be a calm and relaxed panda cub, more subdued than older brother Tai Shan.

    "Tai Shan was a little more vocal when we did things like weigh him, where she seems kind of relaxed about it,'' Smith said. "She's like her dad. Tian Tian is very relaxed and kind of goes with the flow. So I'm thinking she got that from him.''

    Once the size of a stick of butter, Bao Bao, who was born unexpectedly Aug. 23, now weighs nearly 17 pounds.

    Smith added, "She's great. She's really healthy...She continues to grow really well."

    Bao Bao makes her public debut on Jan. 18. Curators say she may be visible inside or outside, depending on the day. The amount of time Bao Bao and her mom, Mei Xiang, will be on exhibit will depend on their behavior each day, the zoo said last month.

    If you're a members of the Friends of the National Zoo, you'll get the chance to see her even earlier, at the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat between Jan. 11 and Jan. 17.