US zoo names panda cub 'Bao Bao' - or 'Treasure'

US zoo names panda cub 'Bao Bao' - or 'Treasure'
The newest baby panda born at the Smithsonian's National Zoo is seen in a handout picture taken in Washington.

WASHINGTON - Washington's National Zoo named its giant panda cub Bao Bao on Sunday but fans will have to wait a month before they can get their first glimpse of the furry creature.

Bao Bao - "treasure" or "precious" in Mandarin - is only the second cub to survive birth at the zoo since it received a pair of giant pandas in 1972 following president Richard Nixon's historic visit to China.

In line with Chinese tradition, the naming ceremony took place 100 days after the tiny female's August 23 birthday.

Assistant US Secretary of State Kerri-Ann Jones and Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai unrolled two scrolls inscribed in both English and Chinese.

First Lady Michelle Obama hailed Bao Bao as a "symbol of the growing connection between our two countries" in a video message.

Cui, meanwhile, explained that the Chinese tradition of waiting 100 days before naming a cub "represents the wish that the baby... will live as long as 100 years."

More than 123,000 people voted to pick a name on the zoo's website.

The winner outdid Ling Hua ("darling, delicate flower"), Long Yun ("charming dragon"), Mulan ("legendary young woman" or "wood orchid"), and Zhen Bao ("treasure" or "valuable").

Bao Bao wasn't at the ceremony and won't be making her debut until early January, officials said, as they pointed disappointed fans to the zoo's webcam instead: nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/webcams/giant-panda.cfm) Only about the size of a stick of butter at birth, Bao Bao weighed 10.8 pounds (4.9 kilograms) on November 22 and even reacted to noises, they added.

Bao Bao won't be a Washington resident forever.

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