Beloved Panda Cub Bei Bei Climbs First Tree

posted: 02/08/16
by: Danny Clemens
Bei Bei climbs a tree
Smithsonian’s National Zoo

With every passing day, the Internet seems to be falling even more in love with Bei Bei, a precious panda cub born recently at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C. From his birth last summer to his first steps, the world has watched with adoration as Bei Bei grows up before its very eyes.

Now, Bei Bei how has yet another first to add to his quickly growing list. National Zoo keepers took to social media this afternoon to share footage of the young panda scaling a tree in his habitat for the first time ever -- a feat that reportedly took multiple attempts:

Born to mother Mei Xiang on August 22, 2015, Bei Bei is part of a program known as panda diplomacy, a cultural exchange practice dating back more than a thousand years in which the Chinese government extends giant pandas as diplomatic gifts.

Related: The World's Cutest Animals, According to Social Media

Each year, the United States government pays approximately $500,000 to host China's iconic giant pandas in the Smithsonian, money which is then funneled back into panda research and conservation efforts in China.

The current Sino-American agreement was instituted at the turn of the millennium; once it expires, the pandas will return to China.


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