Tokyo zoo releases video of 'fluffy' baby panda

PHOTO: AFP

Tokyo – A two-month-old panda, the first cub born at Tokyo’s Ueno zoo for five years, is growing well and has become “fluffy”, the zoo said Monday as it released fresh video footage of the baby animal.  

The footage showed the as-yet-unnamed cub being weighed and measured by keepers at the zoo, and napping, crawling and playing with her mother, Shin Shin.  

“The baby panda is now fluffy with increasing body hair,” zoo director Yutaka Fukuda said at a press conference.  

“She will grow even cuter as more panda-like characteristics begin to emerge,” Fukuda said.  

Tokyo’s Ueno zoo welcomes first panda cub in 5 years

  • Hundreds of fans flocked to a Tokyo zoo for the first public viewing of baby panda Xiang Xiang, after winning a lucky lottery ticket that a quarter of a million applied for.
  • Long queues formed outside the zoo as fans - many wearing panda cub hats or gloves - waited patiently for a brief glimpse of Xiang Xiang, whose name is derived from the Chinese character for "fragrance."
  • Such was the demand to see the hot new attraction that the zoo held a lottery and only those lucky enough to win the coveted golden ticket gained access to the panda enclosure.
  • Nearly 250,000 people applied to see Xiang Xiang and the zoo will limit the maximum number of visitors to 2,000 a day until the end of January to reduce stress on the animals.
  • Inside, Xiang Xiang rolled around in her pen, munching on bamboo and scrambling up trees while her mother watched laconically.
  • To spare the pandas from overexposure, visitors were alloted only a few minutes to watch them in action before being moved on by a strict team of timekeepers.
  • Japanese media were no less obsessed with Xiang Xiang's first day, with television channels broadcasting live images of the panda and the crowds.
  • Merchandising shops were also cashing in on the craze, with panda goods flying off the shelves.
  • For avid panda fans who miss out, the zoo will offer a year-long live stream of Xiang Xiang's daily life.
  • A two-month-old panda, the first cub born at Tokyo’s Ueno zoo for five years, is growing well and has become “fluffy”, the zoo said as it released fresh video footage of the baby animal.
  • The footage showed the as-yet-unnamed cub being weighed and measured by keepers at the zoo, and napping, crawling and playing with her mother, Shin Shin.
  • The zoo has invited the public to suggest names for the cub, and said it had received some 250,000 submissions.
  • In the video footage, the panda is shown crawling around, using her front paws to drag her body across the floor.
  • It will take another month before she is able to support her body weight on all four paws, zoo officials said.
  • Although the panda’s eyes are now open, she can so far only sense light and can’t yet see objects, they said.
  • The rare birth of the panda triggered a frenzy of media and public excitement in Japan, with businesses keen to cash in.

The rare birth of the panda in June triggered a frenzy of media and public excitement in Japan, with businesses keen to cash in.  

The zoo has invited the public to suggest names for the cub, and said it had received some 250,000 submissions. 

The panda’s name will be announced in September.  

The cub, which turned 60 days old on Friday, weighed 3,010.4 grammes (6.6 pounds) – nearly three times heavier than a month before, according to the zoo.  

She also measured 43.9 centimetres (17.3 inches) in length, up from 29.5 centimetres at 30 days, the zoo added.  

In the video footage, the panda is shown crawling around, using her front paws to drag her body across the floor. 

It will take another month before she is able to support her body weight on all four paws, zoo officials said.  

Although the panda’s eyes are now open, she can so far only sense light and can’t yet see objects, they said.  

The panda’s mother, Shin Shin, who mated with male Ri Ri in February, had given birth to another cub in 2012. 

It was the first panda birth at the zoo in 24 years – but the baby died from pneumonia just six days later.

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