Hint: it translates to "little miracle" in Mandarin!
The people have spoken: after putting it up to a vote, the National Zoo has finally revealed the baby panda's name, and we think it's a wonderful choice.
Everyone, meet Xiao Qi Ji!
The name, which was chosen out of 135,000 votes cast, translates to "little miracle" in Mandarin Chinese. Other options included Fu Zai ("prosperous boy"), Xing Fu (happy and prosperous), and Zai Zai, a nickname for a boy. It is seen by zoo officials as a fitting name for the year 2020, as the baby panda represents a small "miracle" amidst the extreme circumstances of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“Connecting people around the world with nature, whether in person or in this virtual setting, is a cornerstone of our mission to conserve and protect giant pandas for future generations,” said National Zoo director Steve Monfort in a statement.
Xiao Qi Ji was born back in late August to parents Mei Xiang and Tian Tian. You probably remember the viral video showing the birth happening live on the Panda Cam. Mei Xiang, the mother, has given birth prior to Xiao Qi Ji. Her children include Tai Shan, Bao Bao, and Bei Bei, all of who have transferred to China as part of the long-standing breeding program between China and the United States.
As part of tradition, the panda's name is chosen after 100 days, which reflects the Chinese custom of waiting to bestow a child's name in case they do not survive.
"We are grateful that those who share in our joy have helped us pick the perfect name for our panda cub," Monfort said.
Since his birth, the baby panda has shown healthy development and growth. At three months old, he weighs around 9 pounds and measures over 21 inches in length. According to the zoo, his strengths include "napping, nursing, and cuddling with mother Mei Xiang." If this is him at 12 weeks, we're looking forward to his first-year mark!
Despite the zoo's recently announced closure along with the rest of the Smithsonian institutions, we can still track the little one's progress on the zoo's Panda Cam. You can also get the scoop on the National Zoo's social media pages and a Giant Panda e-newsletter.
Welcome to the world, Xiao Qi Ji! We can't wait to meet you.
What do you think of the baby panda's name? Did you place a vote for a name, and if so, which one? Sound off in the comments!