Xiao Qi Ji the ‘little miracle’

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than three months after his birth, the National Zoo’s new panda cub finally has a name.

Officials at the Smithsonian, which runs the zoo, announced recently that the cub born on August 21 would be named Xiao Qi Ji, which is Mandarin Chinese for “little miracle”.

The choice was the result of a five-day online poll that drew nearly 135,000 voters to choose between different Mandarin Chinese names.

In a nod to Chinese tradition, the name was not chosen until 100 days after the birth.

The announcement comes on the day the zoo shut its doors to the public for the second time this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Smithsonian officials announced last week that the zoo and the seven museums that had been operating at limited capacity would all shut down indefinitely as the virus continues to spike locally and around the country. The Smithsonian first shut down all its facilities in mid-March.

But the zoo re-opened on July 24 and other museums gradually re-opened with timed entry passes to keep the crowds low.

The panda cub named Xiao Qi Ji. PHOTO: AP