Xiang Xiang is “coming out, she wants the world to know, got to let it show…”
Okay, so maybe she’s a baby panda and not a singing sensation, but this superstar cub at Japan’s Ueno Zoo in Tokyo has the looks and the throngs of fans to rival a diva like Diana Ross any day.
The 6-month-old giant panda cutie made her debut on Monday, reports Japan Times. Xiang Xiang was born on June 12 and is described as “healthy.” It’s the first time in 29 years that Japan has welcomed a new panda cub.
“We started a panda breeding program in 2010 but it’s not easy to make these animals produce a cub,” said Yutaka Fukuda, the head of the zoo, at a ceremony on behalf of the animal. “We’re happy and proud of our success.”
Fukuda also said that Xiang Xiang is the zoo’s first panda born through natural mating. He expressed the zoo’s high hopes for her parents to have more reproductive success in the future.
“Wild giant pandas are at risk of extinction and there are only 1,800 remaining worldwide, which makes this one very precious,” said Tokyo’s Gov. Yuriko Koike.
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Xiang Xiang was seen by approximately 130 guests, including local officials and lawmakers, on Monday. She then made her first public appearance for international press on Tuesday.
Fans gathered from near and far to catch a glimpse of the adorable cub. Students from Shinobugaoka Elementary School celebrated the cub with musical performances, while Wan Wang, the wife of Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua, presented the zoo with a statue of the panda.
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Even local shops and bakeries are getting in on the panda celebrations.
Xiang Xiang’s public appearances will be restricted through Jan. 31 to two-and-a-half hours a day. The zoo does not want to overwhelm the little panda, and it’s been preparing her for crowds over the past few weeks. Traditionally, panda cubs are displayed about 180 days after birth.