National Zoo's Panda Cub Ventures Outside

Panda yards "cub-proofed" in advance of her trip

The National Zoo's giant panda cub Bao Bao ventured outside for the first time Tuesday.

Bao Bao explored her mother Mei Xiang's yard, climbing a nearby tree while her watchful mother munched on some bamboo. Bao Bao soon grabbed some bamboo for herself, sitting beside her mom in the sunny yard. Zoo officials say Bao Bao has started tasting bamboo, but she's still nursing from Mei Xiang.

Zookeepers say she'll have the option of going outside if the temperature is at least 35 degrees and it's not raining or snowing.

Animal keepers have "cub-proofed" the panda yards. They placed "collars'' on trees to prevent Bao Bao from climbing too high. Some tree limbs have been trimmed. And the keepers spread out bales of hay to cushion any falls.

While she'll have the option of going outside, zookeepers say it may take several weeks before Bao Bao is venturing outside regularly.

Here's much more Bao Bao coverage:

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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