Local

Photos: See Bei Bei Grow From Cub to Giant Panda

He's all grown up! Bei Bei, the National Zoo's 4-year-old giant panda, left D.C. on Tuesday to move to China on Nov. 19. He was born to mom Mei Xiang and dad Tian Tian at the zoo on Aug. 22, 2015. Relive some of Bei Bei's cutest moments.

58 photos
1/58
Alastair Pike/AFP via Getty Images; Smithsonian's National Zoo
2/58
Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images
He's all grown up! Bei Bei, the National Zoo's 4-year-old giant panda, left D.C. on Tuesday to move to China on Nov. 19. He was born to mom Mei Xiang and dad Tian Tian at the zoo on Aug. 22, 2015. Relive some of Bei Bei's cutest moments. Here, he rested at the National Zoo, days before he was set to leave the zoo for China. (Photo by Jim Watson/AFP)
3/58
Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images
Giant panda Bei Bei sits in a tub eating a carrot at the National Zoo. (Photo by Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)
4/58
Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Staff members made a paw print from Bei Bei as a keepsake as he underwent a general physical and wellness exam in advance of his upcoming journey to China in the next few months at the National Zoo. (Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
5/58
Photo by Alastair Pike/AFP via Getty Images
Giant panda Bei Bei walks toward his frozen 4th birthday cake at the National Zoo on Aug. 22, 2019. It would be his final birthday at the zoo, as he was set to move to China after turning 4, per a U.S.-China breeding agreement. (Photo by Alastair Pike/AFP)
6/58
Roshan Patel, Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Bei Bei celebrated his third birthday with an ice cake made of frozen fruit juice, shredded carrot donuts, bamboo, and assorted produce.
7/58
Roshan Patel, Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Bei Bei, the National Zoo's youngest giant panda, is happily celebrating his third birthday in his enclosure. Bei Bei has one more year left living in Washington D.C. before he is returned to China.
8/58
Khallid Shabazz
Bei Bei is chewing on the sugar canes of his third birthday cake.
9/58
Roshan Patel, Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Bei Bei also has a container in his enclosure that says "Happy Bei Day".
10/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
The National Zoo's Panda House reopened Monday as giant panda cub Bei Bei's recovery from surgery continues to go well.
11/58
Newton Police Department
Bei Bei tries a new biscuit made by nutritionists out of sweet potato, leaf eater biscuits and bamboo.
12/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
On Saturday, Bei Bei weighed 95 pounds and was "very active" according to a Facebook post from the National Zoo.
13/58
Justin Chimienti/Instagram
One week after his surgery, Bei Bei was able to eat soft foods as well as larger amounts of biscuits, sweet potatoes and apples, the zoo said.
14/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
Bei Bei shows his bare belly after his fur was shaved for surgery in November. His fur started growing back soon after.
15/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
The National Zoo and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China celebrated giant panda cub Bei Bei’s first birthday back in August.
16/58
Getty Images
Bei Bei, his big sister Bao Bao, and father Tian Tian all celebrated their birthdays in August with frozen birthday "cakes."
17/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
Delish! (We assume.)
18/58
KNBC-TV
In March, Bei Bei proved yet again that the most ordinary things become extraordinarily cute when he does them -- e.g., eating an apple.
19/58
Andy Kropa/Invision/AP
Keepers prepped Bei Bei for his public debut in January. Bei Bei seemed right at home during an event shortly before his debut, posing and playing -- in a panda cub-sized playpen! -- as visitors watched with delight.
20/58
NBC Washington
Bei Bei weighed nearly 21 pounds in the first week of January, and was learning to climb the rocks in his enclosure. He was still a wee one, though -- Mama Mei Xiang still nurses him and carries him around.
21/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
At nearly five months old in December 2015, Bei Bei had reached epic levels of adorableness. The days of being tiny, hairless and helpless were long gone.
22/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
The zoo shared this image from vet exam in early December 2015.
23/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
We don't even know what to say about the astronomic amounts of cuteness contained in this photo. We're not going to try. Just sit back and enjoy.
24/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
People who get to pet baby pandas are the luckiest people in the world.
25/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
By November 2015, Bei Bei weighed 12.5 pounds and had begun walking.
26/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
In November 2015, the National Zoo announced Bei Bei will make his public debut Jan. 16.
27/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
Does this man have the best job ever? Panda keeper Juan Rodriguez weighed Bei Bei on Nov. 15, 2015.n
28/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
Around the start of November 2015, Bei Bei tipped the scales at 8.79 pounds and was starting to get teeth.
29/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo Panda Cam
Flickr user gkoo19681 captured this panda cam shot in early November 2015, and the zoo shared it on Instagram.
30/58
Getty Images
The plastic storage bin phase is, hands down, one of the cutest phases of panda cub development. Here's Bei Bei weighing in at about 9.5 pounds in early November 2015.
31/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo Panda Cam
"He woke up like this. ‪#Flawless," the zoo posted on Instagram around early November 2015. "This was our favorite ‪#BeiBei photo uploaded to the ‪#PandaStory Flickr group this past week courtesy of user LoveSmileB."
32/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
Bei Bei was getting hefty by two months old! He weighed almost a full pound more than his older brother, Tai Shan, at the same age, the zoo said.
33/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo Panda Cam
Tiny toes! Flickr user partipersian captured this panda cam shot in mid-October 2015, and the zoo shared it on Instagram.
34/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo Panda Cam
Twitter user @PandaLove0575 shared this Panda Cam shot of a yawning, sleepy Bei Bei on Oct. 1, 2015. "Such a big yawn for such a little boy," she tweeted.
35/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo Panda Cam
"The classic nose to nose nuzzle!" the zoo tweeted in fall 2015. "Thx to Janet Crouse for sharing."
36/58
Laurie Thompson, Smithsonian's National Zoo
By Oct. 1, 2015, Bei Bei's eyes were partially open and his teeth buds were developing, zookeepers said. His ear canals were still closed, but the zoo said he should be able to hear some sounds.
37/58
NBC4 Washington
On Oct. 1, 2015, Bei Bei weighed in at 4.5 pounds -- half a pound more than his weigh-in the previous week. He was measuring nearly 14 inches from his head to the tip of his tail.
38/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo Panda Cam
On Sept. 29, 2015, the zoo shared a precious video of Bei Bei sneezing while snoozing with his mom. Go ahead, watch it 50 times. We'll wait.
39/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
By the time he was six weeks old, the days of being tiny, hairless and helpless were gone! The cub now sported black-and-white fur and was wiggling around his den.
40/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
The plastic-container phase is an important level of panda development The zoo shared plenty of images of Bei Bei's older siblings in similar containers when they were small.
41/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
Sept. 17, 2015.
42/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
On Sept. 17, 2015, vets reported that Bei Bei had "an excellent range of motion" and was able to push himself up onto his front legs.
43/58
Joseph Kaczmarek
At about three weeks old, the cub was looking decidedly panda-like. Here is he at 1.9 pounds on Sept. 14, 2015.
44/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
In mid-September 2015, the zoo said that the newborn was sleeping for much of the day, which is normal. Keepers said he sleeps with his paw over his eyes -- just like dad Tian Tian and big sister Bao Bao do!
45/58
Joseph Kaczmarek
On Sept. 12, 2015, mom Mei Xiang left the den for about 15 minutes, and the cub was spotted on the panda cam scooting around in circles, the zoo said. Keepers noticed the black markings on his back resemble those of dad Tian Tian's.n
46/58
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Keepers described Mei Xiang as a devoted mother. She gave birth to twins Aug. 22, 2015, but as many giant pandas do, struggled to care for them both. Keepers swapped the cubs back and forth, but the smaller cub died four days later. Bei Bei, the surviving cub, was healthy. Here are mom and baby in September 2015.
47/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
In mid-September 2015, keepers said the cub's eye slits had formed and his eyes would begin to open soon. Panda cubs' eyes fully open when they're about 6 to 8 weeks old, the zoo said. (Image from Sept. 10)
48/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
Sept. 9, 2015.
49/58
AP
Mei Xiang briefly left the cub Sept. 8, 2015, letting vets check the little cub's weight. He tipped the scales at 1.3 pounds and let keepers snap some color images.
50/58
Getty Images
Sept. 8, 2015: the piglet phase.
51/58
TELEMUNDO LOCAL
Sept. 8, 2015.
52/58
TELEMUNDO LOCAL
Sept. 5, 2015.
53/58
NBC Bay Area
Sept. 5, 2015.
54/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
The cub had a quick vet exam on Sept. 5, 2015, at two weeks old.
55/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
Zoo vets performed a quick exam on the cub in early September after his mother, Mei Xiang, left her den. The cub weighed in at 10 ounces -- six ounces more than his birth weight. (Image: Sept. 3, 2015)
56/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
The cub and his twin were born Aug. 22, but the other cub -- the smaller of the two -- died four days after birth. Keepers have said that Mei Xiang is a devoted mother. (Image: Sept. 2, 2015)
57/58
Smithsonian's National Zoo
The zoo shared images of the tiny cub from its panda cams. (Image: Sept. 1, 2015)
58/58
NBC Connecticut
Vets have said the newborn appeared healthy and is developing normally. He was still mostly hairless in late August 2015, but he was beginning to get his black-and-white markings. (Image: Aug. 31, 2015)
Contact Us