National Zoo Announces Baby Giant Panda’s Name

Baby Giant Panda Xiao Qi Ji. Courtesy: The Smithsonian National Zoo.

The Smithsonian National Zoo announced Monday that its three-month-old giant panda cub has a name: Xiao Qi Ji.

Pronounced SHIAU-chi-ji, the Mandarin Chinese name means “little miracle” in English, according to the zoo. Almost 135,000 people voted on a name during the five-day window between Nov. 16-20. The other contenders were:

  • Fu Zai (福仔): prosperous boy.
  • Xing Fu (幸福): happy and prosperous.
  • Zai Zai (仔仔): a traditional Chinese nickname for a boy.

The cub’s name “reflects the extraordinary circumstances under which he was born and celebrates the collaboration between colleagues who strive to conserve this species,” says a statement from the zoo. Xiao Qi Ji’s birth on Aug. 21 was “a much-needed moment of joy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” the zoo said.

Citing a spike in coronavirus cases, on Nov. 19 the Smithsonian Institution announced that all museums and the National Zoo will be closed to the public beginning Nov. 23. No reopening date has been announced.

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