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National Zoo's panda cub named Xiao Qi Ji, or 'Little Miracle'

The name was voted on by over 100,000 panda fans from around the world, according to zookeepers.
Image:After five days of voting and just under 135,000 votes, the panda cub at the Smithsonians National Zoo, is now named Xiao Qi Ji (SHIAU-chi-ji), which translates as little miracle in English
After five days of voting and just under 135,000 votes, the panda cub at the Smithsonians National Zoo, is now named Xiao Qi Ji (SHIAU-chi-ji), which translates as little miracle in English, Nov. 18, 2020.Smithsonians National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute / AFP - Getty Images file
By Tim Fitzsimons

The National Zoo's new panda cub has a name: Xiao Qi Ji, [pronounced SHIAU-chi-ji] a Mandarin Chinese name that means "little miracle."

The naming of the three-month-old giant panda came after five days of online voting in which over 100,000 people cast ballots, the Smithsonian Institute said in a press release announcing the name.

Xiao Qi Ji's mother, Mei Xiang, was artificially inseminated on March 22 from the cub's father, Tian Tian. The pregnancy was confirmed in an ultrasound on August 14.

Mei Xiang gave birth to Xiao Qi Ji on August 21, the National Zoo's website said.

The breeding program of giant pandas at the Smithsonian Institute's National Zoo dates back to 1972. President Richard Nixon traveled to Beijing for the famed opening of China where officials offered to send a pair of giant pandas as an offering of good will.

Giant pandas are highly endangered animals. There were fewer than 2,000 giant pandas living in the wild in 2014, according to the World Wildlife Foundation. However, the exact number is unknown. Scientists agree that the wild panda population has rebounded since the 1970s, the first time China conducted a survey of the animal.

The National Zoo's breeding program has mixed success due to the difficulty that giant pandas often have reproducing in captivity; for the first 20 years after the first two pandas arrived in Washington in 1972, all five cubs that Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing had died within days after birth.

As of Tuesday morning, Xiao Qi Ji was sleeping with her mother, according to the National Zoo Panda Cam.

Image: Tim FitzsimonsTim Fitzsimons

Tim Fitzsimons reports on LGBTQ news for NBC Out. 

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Summary | 7 Annotations
After five days of voting and just under 135,000 votes, the panda cub at the Smithsonians National Zoo, is now named Xiao Qi Ji (SHIAU-chi-ji), which translates as little miracle in English, Nov. 18, 2020.
2020/11/25 14:54
The National Zoo's new panda cub has a name: Xiao Qi Ji, [pronounced SHIAU-chi-ji] a Mandarin Chinese name that means "little miracle."
2020/11/25 14:55
The naming of the three-month-old giant panda came after five days of online voting in which over 100,000 people cast ballots, the Smithsonian Institute said in a press release announcing the name.
2020/11/25 14:55
Xiao Qi Ji's mother, Mei Xiang, was artificially inseminated on March 22 from the cub's father, Tian Tian. The pregnancy was confirmed in an ultrasound on August 14.
2020/11/25 14:55
Giant pandas are highly endangered animals. There were fewer than 2,000 giant pandas living in the wild in 2014, according to the World Wildlife Foundation. However, the exact number is unknown. Scientists agree that the wild panda population has rebounded since the 1970s, the first time China conducted a survey of the animal.
2020/11/25 14:55
The National Zoo's breeding program has mixed success due to the difficulty that giant pandas often have reproducing in captivity; for the first 20 years after the first two pandas arrived in Washington in 1972, all five cubs that Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing had died within days after birth.
2020/11/25 14:55
As of Tuesday morning, Xiao Qi Ji was sleeping with her mother, according to the National Zoo Panda Cam.
2020/11/25 14:55