Michelle Obama, Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan Name Giant Panda Cub at National Zoo ‘Bei Bei’

First lady Michelle Obama and China’s first lady Peng Liyuan, reveal the name of the panda born at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington on Aug. 22 to Mei Xiang, during a visit to the zoo in Washington, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. The name is Bei Bei, which means “precious treasure.” It was chosen by both the Chinese and American first ladies. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
First lady Michelle Obama and China’s first lady Peng Liyuan, reveal the name of the panda born at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington on Aug. 22 to Mei Xiang, during a visit to the zoo in Washington, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. The name is Bei Bei, which means “precious treasure.” It was chosen by both the Chinese and American first ladies. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The month-old giant panda cub at the National Zoo officially has a name: Bei Bei.

First lady Michelle Obama and Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan announced their name choice at the National Zoo in D.C. on Friday. “Bei Bei” means “precious treasure,” Zoo Director Dennis Kelly told reporters, and invites a host of ‘baby’ (or ‘bae’) wordplay.

Obama and Peng chose the name together from a list of finalists from zoo and Chinese officials, and revealed the choice by unfurling scrolls for an audience of schoolchildren. The announcement took some panda enthusiasts by surprise, since the zoo in the past has followed Chinese tradition of waiting 100 days to name the pandas.

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SOURCE: TIME, Julia Zorthian

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