Smithsonian Zoo Prepare for a Baby Panda Party

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: August 1, 2021 1:40 am

xiao qi ji the giant panda cub

Xiao Qi Ji the giant panda cub at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo feeds on an apple.

Photo Credit: Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Staff at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo are preparing to celebrate the birthday of one of our favorite VIPs (Very Important Pandas). Xiao Qi Ji who we have been following since his birth last year will celebrate his first birthday in just three weeks.

Keepers describe the cub as smart, observant, inquisitive and goofy. He is also said to have a knack for turning anything he touches in to a toy.

The inquisitive cub is also said to love to investigate his territory but tends to be more cautious than his brothers and sisters have been. He is careful about his footing and takes his time.

xiao qi ji the giant panda cub

Xiao Qi Ji the giant panda cub at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo enjoys a fruitsicle, one of his favorite treats made from diluted fruit juice and water

Photo Credit: Smithsonian’s National Zoo

The smart cub has readily learnt how to return to his indoor housing when his name is called and is described as a superstar with his husbandry training.

While participation in training sessions is completely voluntary Xiao Qi Ji almost always chooses to interact helped along by some of his favorite treat, sweet potato. This has allowed keepers to train him to climb on a scale.

At his most recent weigh-in on July 28th 2021 he weighed in at 26.5kg (58.3lbs).

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Xiao Qi Ji only took two attempts to learn how to stand on his hind legs allowing keepers to check for limb weakness or injuries. Recently he has been learning a voluntary blood draw behavior. This involves reaching his arm through a small window and holding a bar while receiving a reward of honey water.

He has also been exploring how enrichment works. Recently he leant back and held a toy above his head in the same way mom Mei Xiang does to see if any biscuits were inside but she had already eaten them.

While preparations are underway for his birthday Mei Xiang celebrated hers on July 22nd and the pair shared a fruitsicle to celebrate.

xiao qi ji the giant panda cub

Xiao Qi Ji the giant panda cub enjoys a treat with his mother Mei Xiang at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Photo Credit: Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Learn more about Giant Pandas here – Giant Panda Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the Smithsonian’s National Zoo on their website – Smithsonian’s National Zoo

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