Bao Bao is Working Overtime

Bao BaoThe world, or at least Washington, D.C., can’t get enough of Bao Bao. Your little black and white cookie, who you may have played a part in naming, is working hard for her money, so you better treat her right. In other words, you should go to visit her. Now.

You know when every old person tells you the story about that time they went to a Rolling Stones concert the night before a midterm rather than studying and it was one of the best decisions they ever made so you really shouldn’t take college so seriously? You don’t have a midterm tomorrow. The reading you’re doing probably isn’t necessary. Visiting Bao Bao may become one of the best decisions you ever make, and then when you’re an old person talking to a young college student you, too, can tell them about the wild and crazy time you cut class to see a panda.

Ready to go? Great.

According to DCist, Bao Bao is working extra hours for her debut, so you can see her at the National Zoo from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. starting Jan. 18. But by Jan. 21, Bao Bao’s visiting hours will start later, at 10 a.m. (Not that any of you will really get there earlier than 10 a.m., anyway.)

If you absolutely can’t make it, then you’ll totally be missing out, because anybody who’s anybody will be there. But I guess you can watch this video from the National Zoo instead to try and understand a bit of the adorable fuzziness you’re missing out on:

Photo:, Video: The Washington Post

Snow Day: Zoo Edition

animals in the snowFor those of you experiencing the recent snow storm, you might be feeling a range of emotions. Maybe love for the amount of sledding you can now partake in? Or perhaps hate for the lack of feeling in your toes? Whether you consider yourself a winter fanatic or a “weather wuss,” there’s one thing this winter storm brought that you have to love: the adorable, snow-filled animal pictures released yesterday by the National Zoo. Brought to us from our friends at DCist, here are a couple of animals who seem to know how to have a good snow day:

No matter how matter how many times we see it, snow is always exciting.


This little red panda seems to have found the best view.


This tiger enjoys walking around the new winter wonderland.


But even the animals know winter break is all about sleep! Yawwwn!


Wait, there’s more! Even 4E’s favorite panda, Bao Bao, got in on the snow fun! DCist noted that while the National Zoo said Bao Bao was not ready to experience the snow just yet, they were kind enough to bring her a bowl of snow to play with.


Baby panda! Baby panda with a bowl of snow! Is there such a thing as too much cuteness?

Photos: DCist

The Votes Are In!

Bao BaoFor months, the world has been captivated by the Panda Cam, the live webcam broadcast of the new baby panda at the National Zoo. However, for all these months, the cub has remained nameless. Finally, the wait is over.

After an online vote was conducted to name the bear, she was officially named at a celebration of her first 100 days yesterday. The winning name: Bao Bao.

The name means “precious” or “treasure” in Chinese, and it certainly seems to fit the world’s most famous bear cub. According to a report in The Washington Post, over 123,000 people voted worldwide to name the cuddly creature, which has been called a symbol of the bond between the U.S. and China.

Next up for Bao Bao: her public debut, set for next year. If the naming process was any indication, it looks like that Panda Cam is going to get a lot of views until then.

Photo: TodayOnline

The Naming of the Baby Panda is Here!

PandaThough many Hoyas are traveling home today and tomorrow for Thanksgiving, some will be staying on campus for the holidays. Fortunately, those of you who are here on the Hilltop will be able to spend your Sunday in a better way than most will: attending the naming ceremony of the National Zoo’s new baby panda!

Sunday will be the cub’s 100-day birthday, and the event will take place at 1 p.m. at the “Panda Plaza.” Sadly, the cub will not be present for her naming, but there will be music, dancing and Chinese treats provided by the Chinese embassy. While there, be sure to check out the adorable tiger cubs as well – and by the looks of things, they’re as playful as ever. So while all your friends are stuck in airports and train stations trying to get home Sunday, go enjoy yourself at the Zoo!

Photo: DCist

Pandamonium! A New Baby Panda for the National Zoo

Get ready for a cute overload – a new giant panda cub was born late last night at the National Zoo. After her last cub was born in 2005, Mei Xiang has finally produced another tourist-attracting ball of fluff.

Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated back in April (in case you’re super interested in the details, the National Zoo livetweeted the whole thing), and gave birth at 10:46 PM on Sunday, surprising researchers at the Zoo. According to Post Local, caretakers expected another disappointment on the baby panda front.

Instead they wound up with a yet-to-be-named panda cub, who’s currently about the size of a stick of butter. Researchers won’t be able to see the new cub for a week or so while Mei Xiang protects her new baby, but they’ve heard little panda vocalizations. Maybe even a baby panda sneeze or two.

The last five years have been full of failed pregnancies for Mei Xiang, and there was talk of replacing the National Zoo’s pandas for a younger and friskier pair. But with a new cub, these pandas will be at the National Zoo for at least four more years. Plenty of time to watch the new baby grow up with brother Tai Shan.

This will be the second piece of baby animal excitement in recent news for the National Zoo – an adorable new dama gazelle was born last week.


A New Baby Animal at the Zoo

The National Zoo welcomed a new baby gazelle into the world last weekend. And as The Hoya’s official baby animal lovers, we can’t wait to introduce you to the most adorable baby dama gazelle on this side of the Potomac. This male baby was born on September 4 in an off-site exhibit and will remain off-site for several weeks while baby and mother Fahima bond together.

Dama gazelles are found in the Sahara Desert and grasslands to the south, but are critically in danger. According to the National Zoo’s press release on Flickr, there are fewer than 500 specimens left in the world.

The baby, so far unnamed, is the second dama gazelle born at the zoo this year, but the first, who was born in July on exhibit, died when he was 13 days old. Fortunately, this baby appears healthy and active and is gaining weight while bonding with his mother.

The two will become available to the public later this fall at a mixed species exhibit, where they are housed with other dama gazelles and two scimtar-horned oryx. For more photos of this newest addition to the zoo, check out the National Zoo’s album on Flickr.

Name This Tiny Monkey!

Here at 4E we’re pretty partial to baby animals, which is why we appreciate the National Zoo so much. They had a new black howler monkey born on March 22, and now he needs a name. They’re leaving that decision up to us, and are holding a vote to determine what this adorable little primate will be called. Sadly, you can’t suggest your own names, but here are the options:

Sumaq: This name in the Quechua language means “beautiful.” The baby’s golden locks and chocolate brown eyes prompted the keepers to suggest a name befitting a handsome boy.

Orejas: The baby may blend in perfectly with 5-year-old mother Chula’s fur, but one feature (or two) makes him stick out: his large ears. For this reason, keepers chose the name Orejas, a Spanish word meaning “ears.”

Nando: Short for Fernando, “Nando” is a popular name meaning “courageous.” At first, the baby was shy and clung tightly to his mother. In the last few weeks, however, he has grown increasingly independent and active, swinging by his tail and walking from branch to branch. Keepers expect he will become more daring over the next few months.

Loki: “Loki” is the Norse mythological god of mischief. Inquisitive from a young age, the baby howler explores his environment by touching and tasting everything around him. He has even tried to steal mom’s food.

You can vote on a name over at the National Zoo’s Facebook page, the voting period will end on Friday (just in time for this little guy’s three month birthday).

Now if we could just find a pig, we could recreate one of the internet’s favorite moments.

Photo: Mike Crosby/National Zoo

Name This Pup

We’ll take any excuse we can get to write about baby animals (and wolves no less — fitting for the upcoming premiere of the second season of Game of Thrones), and this is a fun one. Back in January, four maned wolf pups were born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia, and the National Zoo is putting their names up to a vote.

Two of the four pups (one male and one female) still need names, and the poll to decide what they would be opened yesterday on the Zoo’s Facebook page.

Potential names were selected by the pups’ caretakers “in an attempt to reflect the animals’ personalities, natural history and range.” The options for the male pup are Canastra, Cerrado, Rocko and Timido, while the female could be named Bela, Estrella, Pinga or Terra. The potential names are all Brazilian Portuguese, with the exception of “Rocky,” which was the nickname of one of the researchers’ fathers.

The pups are all healthy and feisty, according to veterinary technicians at the SCBI. Maned wolves are native to central South America, and are threatened in the wild.

Voting will only be open until noon on Friday, March 30, so if you want to play a part in naming these little guys act quickly.

Photo: National Zoo

Parks and Recreation: D.C. Style

To start off, no allusions to Ron Swanson and Amy Poehler found their way into this post (sorry), but in the spirit of Spring, stop watching Hulu and get outside. Now with temperatures promising to stay in the seventies for the rest of the week (or so says my Blackberry, which has been wrong before) and the Georgetown community’s complaints about obscene sunbathing habits on campus, where can one go to find a nice place to soak up some sun in the city? I know I’ve been going stir crazy being cooped up inside these past few months, and lets face it, we all know why everyone is happier in California (and it’s not something in the water), so for everyone’s sake, get off campus and enjoy the weather before it gets too humid (there are even free things you can do).

1. The National Portrait Gallery Sculpture Garden, part of the National Gallery of Art, located down 7th Street from Verizon Center and Constitution Avenue, is a great place to see modern art in a peaceful urban setting. It also offers free jazz concerts on the weekends, and with its proximity to the National Mall, the other Smithsonian museums in the area are easily accessible. The easiest way to get to the Sculpture Garden is to walk to the Foggy Bottom metro and take either the Orange or Blue Line to the Archives stop.

2. While it may seem obvious, go to the ZOO! After you’re done walking around looking at the animals, you’re not very far from either Adams Morgan or Cleveland Park, if you get hungry. The easiest way to get to the Zoo would be to take the GUTS bus to DuPont Circle and catch the Red Line to Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan. Its about a ten minute walk or so from the metro station to the zoo up Connecticut Avenue.

Continue reading “Parks and Recreation: D.C. Style”

10 Things to Do Other Than Vote in the GUSA Election

I know, I know. All the GUSA people will hate me for this. For every word I write, there is an angry SFS student or government major wagging their finger at me and muttering about civic responsibility and how ‘a vote is your voice’….etc., etc.,.

BUT (and this is a big but) part of journalism (err…blogging) is giving voice to the voiceless. And if you could’t tell, there’s an underrepresented majority that have been silently enduring the GUSA campaign shouts.

All the hullaballoo this year has been off-putting. Straw polls? Vice Presidential candidate debates? Really? Why can’t all that time and organization be used for something….that, um, actually helps the campus?

A good friend of mine even told me today that a person campaigning in Red Square forced a flier into their pocket, after they had refused to take one. Uncalled for if you ask me.

So, I’m abstaining from the vote this year on the moral grounds that I think there are more important things students should be doing besides running campaigns that are, in my opinion, really just ego and resume padding.

Here are 10 things you can do today and tomorrow (in lieu) of voting that will actually benefit the universe. And a bonus? They’re good to do even if you DO want to vote in the GUSA election.

Continue reading “10 Things to Do Other Than Vote in the GUSA Election”