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, will leave D.C. 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.

24 photos
1/24
National Zoo/Getty Images
Bei Bei turns four on Aug. 22, 2019, and it's almost certainly his last birthday celebration at the National Zoo. He'll be returned to China under a breeding agreement.
2/24
AFP/Getty Images
He's all grown up! Bei Bei, the National Zoo's 4-year-old giant panda, will leave D.C. 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. Here he was celebrating his 4th birthday.
3/24
AFP/Getty Images
Bei Bei celebrated by chomping down on a specially made frozen cake filled with fruit.
4/24
AFP/Getty Images
5/24
Bei Bei may have been growing out of babyhood by the time a snowstorm rolled over D.C. in February 2019, but he was captured on the Panda Cam having a blast. Watch the video here.
6/24
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.
7/24
SkyForce10
Bei Bei the giant panda rolls around a log sprinkled with pumpkin spice in October 2018.
8/24
National Zoo
Bei Bei had to have known something special was going on for his second birthday because he climbed right in to his "birthday boy" box.
9/24
Smithsonian's National Zoo
The National Zoo's Panda House briefly closed in fall of 2016 after Bei Bei underwent emergency surgery to remove a dense, masticated lemon-sized mass of bamboo stuck in his bowels. Fortunately, Bei Bei recovered nicely.
10/24
Getty Images
Bei Bei, his big sister Bao Bao, and father Tian Tian all celebrate their birthdays in August.
11/24
Smithsonian's National Zoo
Delish! Bei Bei digs into his first birthday cake.
12/24
KNBC-TV
In March 2016, Bei Bei proved yet again that the most ordinary things become extraordinarily cute when he does them — e.g., eating an apple.
13/24
Andy Kropa/Invision/AP
Keepers prepped Bei Bei for his public debut in January 2016. 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.
14/24
Smithsonian's National Zoo
By November 2015, Bei Bei weighed 12.5 pounds and had begun walking.
15/24
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.
16/24
Smithsonian's National Zoo Panda Cam
"The classic nose to nose nuzzle!" the zoo tweeted in fall 2015. "Thx to Janet Crouse for sharing."
17/24
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.
18/24
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.
19/24
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.
20/24
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.
21/24
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.
22/24
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.
23/24
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.
24/24
NBC Connecticut
Vets said that newborn Bei Bei appeared healthy and was developing normally more than a week after his birth. He was still mostly hairless in late August 2015, but he was beginning to get his black-and-white markings.
Contact Us