He’s much larger than his siblings were at this age and his early interest in adult food is accelerating his training.
“For Bao Bao unfortunately there weren’t a lot of foods she was interested in, therefore it was hard for us to initiate training with her,” said National Zoo Animal Keeper Shellie Pick referring to Bei Bei’s big sister. “She was a picky eater.”
The National Zoo let WTOP go behind the scenes to see the growing cub up-close as he interacted with his keepers and his mom, Mei Xiang, Monday.
Bei Bei still relies on his mother’s milk for about 80 percent of his diet. But he’s taken a liking to sweet potatoes, apples and soy protein biscuits, and he’s starting to mouth bamboo.
For those planning a visit to see the giant panda’s at the National Zoo, park staff recommend a visit early in the day.
Pandas spend a lot of time sleeping because they’re carnivores that have evolved to eat plant material.
“To make up for that energy that they’re not receiving from meat, they have to eat or sleep for a majority of the day,” Pick said.
Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas.