The Straits Times
Published on Jan 11, 2013

Rare Panda cub makes public debut at San Diego Zoo


SAN DIEGO (REUTERS) - Xiao Liwu, the newest surviving giant panda born in captivity in the United States (US), made his public debut on Thursday at the San Diego Zoo by shunning the media but shining for the public.

During an hour-long, pre-opening introduction to the media and zoo volunteers, the 6-month-old, 7.3kg male cub rolled in mud and hay, ignoring visitors, then climbed into a moat at the edge of the enclosure and fell asleep on his face.

He woke up once the public arrived and poured on the charm, climbing a tree and posing for photos.

Giant pandas are endangered, and experts estimate there are fewer than 1,600 in the wild, all in the mountain forests of central China.