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    Panda cub at National Zoo begins process of getting his own place

    THE WASHINGTON POST – Just like a human toddler, the giant panda cub at the National Zoo is reaching his milestones.

    The latest: preparing to one day have his own place.

    Xiao Qi Ji, now two years old, has begun visiting a new habitat area at the Northwest Washington zoo where he could someday live on his own, zookeepers said. He has been living with his mother, Mei Xiang, in an enclosure in one part of the panda area; his father, Tian Tian, lives in another nearby. Pandas eventually live solitary lives, experts noted, and so it was time for Xiao Qi Ji to venture out.

    Xiao Qi Ji is coming “of the age to ‘move’ away from his mother and go live on his own”, zoo spokesperson Pamela Baker-Masson wrote in an email. “He will transition to the new yard,” Baker-Masson said, and keepers will watch the pandas for “cues as to when the ‘separation’ has taken place”.

    Giant panda Xiao Qi Ji bites on a piece of sugar cane. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST
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