The National Zoo’s eight-week-old giant panda cub started taking “field trips” with his mom Mei Xiang into their indoor habitat, the Zoo said in a statement.
Last weekend, Mei Xiang reportedly brought her baby out of their den for brief field trips to the large enclosure.
She usually carries him out for just a few moments, but zookeepers expect these trips to take longer and become more frequent over the next few weeks.
The baby panda does not nurse as often as he used to, but he has been gaining weight, which helps him regulate his own body temperature, along with his fur, according to Zoo officials.
🐼❤️ Although our giant panda cub is still perfecting his crawling skills, mom Mei Xiang is helping her son see the world beyond their den. Over the weekend, the pair took a brief “field trip” into their indoor habitat. ✏️STORY: https://t.co/TJpSFsRftZ. #PandaStory #PandaCubdates pic.twitter.com/UYJ7P0Anjt
— National Zoo (@NationalZoo) October 19, 2020
He now often sleeps on the floor of the den next to his mother and they are observed as they playfully nibble at one another from time to time.
The cub also continues to practice crawling. Keepers believe he will start taking his first steps when he is around three months old.
The Zoo’s Asia Trail—including giant panda viewing—is temporarily closed to visitors due to the repaving of walkways.
You can follow each update relating to the pandas via the Zoo’s Giant Panda Bulletin e-newsletter.