My pal Mark Evanier is the Internet’s archivist of Baby Panda-iana. As one of the World Experts on All Things Baby Panda, his most trenchant quote is, "However cute you are -- you will never be as cute as a baby panda." So, I thought of that quote when I came across this...along with the additional footage that isn’t as well-known and makes it all much better..
Slight background. Bei Bei is a 5-month old baby panda at the Smithsonian National Zoo. He made his first public appearance only last month – and yesterday, he decided to try climbing his first tree. It only went partially-well. He figured out how to go up, but got a bit terrified with the whole “coming down” concept. So, his mother Mei Xiang came by to help.
The video of the mother helping has gotten more public attention, taken by a visitor. But it doesn’t have any perspective of what got us there, up the tree. (Actually, for as adorable as the baby panda is, it’s the mother that leaps out to me here, how almost human-like she is with her care for her baby.)
Ah, but that's only part of the story. This in-house official zoo footage (take from their 24-hour hidden camera) tells the whole tale FAR better.
The climb starts at the 3-minute mark and it then runs for five minutes, so you might want to just jump to that point. The camera is farther away in this version, and for most of the video the color is washed out. But it’s a hoot. You see the solitary, adventurous climb; the hesitation coming down; the mother coming over; checking things out, wondering "Should I let him figure his way out of this on his own?", and then realizing, "Oh, okay, mama is here." If you decide the check out the full video, the first three minutes before all that are even fun, as well, showing baby panda Bei Bei wandering around the area, trying a first, small climb and tumbling off.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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