Tai Shan, the panda born on July 9, brought much-needed life to the National Zoo, which had been plagued by leadership problems and animal deaths.
Weighing less than two pounds at birth, the cub was described as "the size of a stick of butter," so bloggers started a campaign to name him Butterstick.
"Tai Shan"–meaning "peaceful mountain"–won the zoo's naming contest, but his nickname stuck, even though he's now a hearty 16 pounds. He recently made his public debut before lucky ticket-holders at the panda house.
Tai Shan will relocate to China after his second birthday, but until then he's the pride of Washington.
Washingtonian staffers contributing to this section were Cristina Abello, Susan Baer, Susan Davidson, Ken DeCell, Rebecca Dreilinger, Kim Isaac Eisler, Mary Clare Fleury, Kimberly Forrest, Brooke Lea Foster, Garrett M. Graff, Cynthia Hacinli, Thomas Head, Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Chad Lorenz, Leslie Milk, Aparna Nancherla, William O'Sullivan, Cindy Rich, and Chris Wilson. Also contributing were Cathy Alter, Ann Cochran, and Matthew Graham.