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Your morning adorable: Giant panda cub Yun Zi explores at the San Diego Zoo

December 22, 2009 | 11:59 am


The San Diego Zoo's resident giant panda cub, Yun Zi, is becoming more self-assured as he grows -- enough so, in fact, that he ventured out of his indoor enclosure Monday to frolic with his mother, Bai Yun, in the great outdoors. 

Prior to Monday, Yun Zi had shown himself to be something of a homebody, preferring the comfort of the den he shares with Bai Yun to the adventures he might find outside.  His older siblings -- brother Mei Sheng and sisters Hua Mei, Su Lin and Zhen Zhen -- differed in this respect, according to Suzanne Hall, the zoo's senior research technician. "Here we are in the middle of December, and our littlest panda seems blissfully unaware that our data indicates ... panda cubs are beginning to spend more time outside of the den by the time they are his age," Hall wrote last week on the zoo's blog.  "But then again, I am not sure that Yun Zi has read our notes on the matter."  (Good point.)

Although he doesn't often choose to do his exercising outside, Yun Zi (whose name translates to "Son of Cloud") is full of vim and vigor, zoo staff report.  At his most recent veterinary checkup, his handlers couldn't even get him to sit still long enough to take his length measurement!  (They were able to learn his weight -- 18.1 pounds, somewhat larger than his older siblings were at his age.)

Your morning adorable: Yun Zi, San Diego Zoo's giant panda cub, is becoming a handful
San Diego Zoo's giant panda, Bai Yun, gives birth to a healthy cub

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Ken Bohn / Associated Press

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