The San Diego Zoo recently debuted a new attraction that’s drawing as much attention as a new theme park ride, but providing “awww”-inspiring views that no theme park currently can. Xiao Liwu is the name of the zoo’s new baby panda cub who made his public debut just two weeks ago. His name means “Little Gift” in Chinese and he is indeed just that for the zoo, with all eyes firmly fixed on this furry little bundle of cuteness.
An easy drive from Disneyland, the San Diego Zoo is one of just four locations in the United States where visitors can see giant pandas - and they now have four of just twelve that exist in this country, with the addition of “Mr. Wu,” as they like to call him. The cub was born July 29, 2012 under close watch of trained animal experts at the zoo in a breeding program with pandas on loan from China. After months of examinations, broadcast online at SanDiegoZoo.org, the healthy cub was finally ready for the world to see him in person earlier this month.
Senior Mammal Keeper Jennifer Beccara has had the pleasure of not only being hands-on with the new cub, but also his now three-year-old brother Yun Zi since he was just as small. In the video below, she describes the interaction with the cubs, coupled with footage of “Little Gift” playing around in what very well may be cuteness overload.
Video: Xiao Liwu “Little Gift” plays at the San Diego Zoo
Xiao Liwu and his mother Bai Yun are featured in the last area of the zoo’s newly-expanded Panda Trek, first taking visitors past his brother and father, Gao Gao. But it’s currently the baby that everyone wants to see, though he’s only out during early morning hours while he’s still young.
As cute as “Little Gift” is, his brother doesn’t miss an opportunity to ham it up too:
The giant panda isn’t the only one on display in the Panda Trek, also featuring the “other” panda called the Red Panda:
Disneyland fans visiting the San Diego Zoo will surely get a sense of nostalgia when seeing (and riding) the zoo’s Skyfari sky buckets:
And in typical theme park fashion, the Panda Trek exits into a gift shop, one of many throughout the zoo:
With the San Diego Zoo located just an hour and a half away from the Anaheim area, Disneyland visitors looking for extra entertainment need only make a drive down the coast. Despite having a large Asia section in Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, no giant pandas exist in a Disney park so fans of this precious animal - and particularly its big-headed bounding babies - shouldn’t miss this opportunity to see Xiao Liwu and family soon.
More photos of Xiao Liwu and the San Diego Zoo: