Comfortably curled up in a keeper’s lap, the giant panda cub at the San Diego Zoo received his weekly veterinary exam. Initially placed on the floor, Xiao Liwu kept crawling into the laps of keepers, who were happy to accommodate him. It made it a bit more challenging to take his measurements, but the cub was comfortable, which is the staff’s primary concern.
“He’s very interested in his caretakers, which is a very good sign,” said P.K. Robbins, DVM, senior veterinarian at the San Diego Zoo. “He’s very comfortable with them and confident in their company and seeks them out.”
The cub’s name, Xiao Liwu, which means “little gift,” was announced in a public naming ceremony on Nov. 13, 2012, 107 days after he was born. The San Diego Zoo follows the Chinese cultural tradition of waiting to name babies until they are at least 100 days old.
This “little gift” is getting bigger. He weighed 10.3 pounds and measured 25.1 inches long just two days after his naming ceremony. Vets also noted that he has four teeth that broke through his gums.
The San Diego Zoo’s giant pandas are on a research loan from the People’s Republic of China. As part of this long-term program, the Zoo is also collaborating with the Chinese Academy of Science in studies of behavior, ecology, genetics and conservation of wild pandas living in the Foping Nature Reserve.