We can deny it no longer: the eve of Bei Bei’s departure is upon us. With the giant panda cub heading to the Bifengxia Panda Base via the Panda Express tomorrow, let’s take a look at some of his finest moments.
August 22, 2015 – A Star Is Born
Giant panda Mei Xiang gave birth to two cubs at the National Zoo. Sadly, the smaller of the two died a few days later. A month later, the surviving cub was given the name Bei Bei – meaning “precious, treasure” – by Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan.
— National Zoo (@NationalZoo) September 25, 2015
September 25, 2015 – Bei Bei Sneezes
What a mighty sneeze from a very tiny panda cub. Can we get a slo-mo instant replay?
November 9, 2015 – Bei Bei Takes His First Steps
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One small step for panda…one adorably wobbly moment for all of us—#BeiBei’s first steps! Under the watchful eye of mom Mei Xiang, #BeiBei took his first steps (and got a major cuddle) on Monday, Nov. 9 around 4:50pm. #PandaStory #WeSaveSpecies #Instascience Now that he’s got all four paws under him, Bei Bei will begin to wander around and leave the den on his own to explore the indoor enclosure.
Bei Bei hit a toddler milestone – even if it was more of a wiggle than a walk. We give him a B- for execution and an A+ for effort.
December 16, 2015 – Bei Bei Is Ready For His Close-Up
At long last, Bei Bei made his media debut at four months old in front of a swath of reporters and photographers. Bad news: he fell asleep during the scrum. Good news: sleeping baby pandas are very cute.
August 20, 2016 – It’s My Party, I’ll Nap If I Want To
In honor of Bei Bei’s first birthday, the National Zoo planned an elaborate series of celebrations for the cub. They held a test run to ensure the event was executed to perfection. Bei Bei – a true rebel without a cause – had other plans. He out in his indoor pen ahead of the ceremony.
Luckily, mother panda Mei Xiang rose to the occasion, munching on Bei Bei’s 100-pound frozen birthday “cake” (made of flavored ice, sweet potatoes, and other treats) and choosing the symbol of luck and friendship for the cub in a traditional Zhuazhou ceremony.
January 22, 2016 – Area Bear Doesn’t Know What Snow Is
DC was hit with an inconvenient snowstorm in the winter of 2016, but not every Washingtonian was upset about it. Young Bei Bei was reportedly wonderstruck by the light dusting of snow in his enclosure.
July 2017–May 2018 – Bei Bei Takes a Tumble – Or Two
Bei Bei fell out of trees…a lot.
— National Zoo (@NationalZoo) July 7, 2017
— National Zoo (@NationalZoo) May 9, 2018
Somehow, this Beltway supernova even made falling out of a tree look adorable. Plus, the young panda taught us a valuable lesson: you can always pick yourself up after failure.
Though our hearts cry out for “four more years!” it is time to say goodbye to Bei Bei. We’ll miss you, sweet prince.