As Bei Bei begins weaning, some normal growing pains
Natural process leads to ‘some stressful moments’
Bei Bei the giant panda cub is going through all the childhood angst that comes with weaning from one’s mother, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo reports.
The zoo said Saturday that Washington’s youngest panda is going through the traditional panda life stages and is officially weaning from his mother, Mei Xiang. Pandas are solitary animals, and cubs typically separate from their mothers at about 18 months. Bei Bei was born Aug. 22, 2015.
The zoo said that while this is a natural process, there “have been some stressful moments.”
“Bei Bei is a resilient bear who is learning to be independent, and the animal care team is supporting his efforts,” the zoo posted in a “Giant Panda Bulletin.”
The timeline of Bei Bei’s weaning is similar to that of Bao Bao’s, the zoo’s previous cub.
China owns and leases all giant pandas in U.S. zoos — including Bei Bei — and by agreement, any cubs born in the United States are sent to China when they are 4 years old.
Bei Bei, shown Aug. 20 during his first birthday week at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington.