News & Politics

Stupid Humans Realize They Were Wrong About This Bear

Pretty great bear. Photograph courtesy National Zoo.

Perhaps it was an Instagram video the National Zoo shared of veterinarians stroking the head of giant panda cub Bei Bei, or maybe the information that while the little bear still can’t stand up and walk, he moves around by scooting his chubby body across the panda enclosure. But recently, we, Washingtonian’s in-house panda skeptics, had a very confessional exchange in one of our Slack channels.

The fuzzy truth.

Bei Bei might have started his young life by interrupting the run-up to Pope Francis‘s visit last month and being possibly cursed for life when First Lady Michelle Obama named him before the end of the traditional 100-day period, but it looks like he’s beating any potential jinxes.

The latest from the zoo: Bei Bei weighed in at a healthy 8.79 pounds on Tuesday, and his teeth are starting to develop. He’s even turning out to be something of a biological super-bear. The Washington Post reports that Bei Bei is moving out of the den area where adult female giant panda Mei Xiang has been mothering him just six weeks after birth, much faster than the two-and-a-half months it took for Bao Bao to get there or the three-and-a-half months Butterstick (d/b/a Tai Shan) needed.

Bei Bei’s legs aren’t yet strong enough to support his weight and stand up, but watching him scoot around on the panda cam is delightful.

We’re ready to admit that after years of panda trolling, Bei Bei is a pretty great bear. In fact, he’s near the top of our ranking of pandas and panda-related things:

  1. Red pandas
  2. Bei Bei
  3. Bradley Beal
  4. Panda Gourmet
  5. The “Never Say No to Panda” Egyptian cheese ad campaign
  6. Parking Panda
  7. Google Panda
  8. Panda brand black licorice
  9. The panda dump truck on Futurama
  10. Mei Xiang
  11. Butterstick
  12. Tian Tian
  13. Panda Express
  14. Bao Bao
Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.